Mass polio vaccine campaign launched after Iraq case

April 6, 2014

Authorities launched a massive polio vaccination campaign on Sunday in Iraq, Syria and Egypt after health officials found a suspected case of the virus in a young boy near Baghdad.

The five-day campaign aims to vaccinate more than 20 million children, including 5.6 million in Iraq alone, UNICEF said, with confirmed cases in conflict-hit neighbouring Syria having sparked a region-wide alert.

"Polio eradication is a global priority," UNICEF's representative in Iraq Marzio Babille said in a statement.

"I appeal to the people of Iraq to join hands in ensuring every child under the age of five is vaccinated during the upcoming April polio campaign, regardless of how many doses they've received previously."

Last month, Iraq's said it found a case of polio in a young boy in Bab al-Sham, near Baghdad, the country's first such case in 14 years.

Health ministry spokesman Ziad Tariq said at the time that officials believed the case originated in Syria, which shares a long border with Iraq's restive western province of Anbar.

In early January, anti-government fighters took control of all of the Anbar city of Fallujah, and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi, some of which they still hold.

A total of 27 children have been paralysed by polio in Syria through the end of March, according to the UN, including 18 in Deir Ezzor, the Syrian province across the border from Anbar.

Lebanon and Turkey will join the regional polio vaccination campaign on April 10 and April 18 respectively, according to UNICEF.

Explore further: Syria polio: 20mln Mideast children to get vaccine

Related Stories

UN says two more polio cases found in Syria

November 26, 2013

The World Health Organization says it has discovered two additional cases of the highly contagious polio virus in Syria, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 17.

Iraq reports first suspected polio case since 2000

March 26, 2014

Iraq's health ministry said Wednesday it had found its first suspected polio case in 14 years, which could have originated in neighbouring Syria where confirmed cases have sparked a region-wide alert.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.