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Ukraine at risk of polio outbreak — WHO

September 02, 2015, 17:47 UTC+3 GENEVA
In 2014, only 50% of children were fully immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases
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© ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Rogulin

GENEVA, September 2. /TASS/. Ukraine is facing a "particular risk" of spread of poliovirus due to insufficient vaccination coverage, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on its website in a report dedicated to the fight against poliomyelitis.

The WHO report notes that in Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region, "2 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) have been confirmed, with dates of onset of paralysis on 30 June and 7 July 2015. One child was 4 years old and the other 10 months old at the time of onset of paralysis."

"Ukraine had been at particular risk of emergence of a cVDPV, due to inadequate vaccination coverage," the WHO noted. "In 2014, only 50% of children were fully immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases."

According to the World Health Organization, "circulating VDPVs are rare but well-documented strains of poliovirus that can emerge in some populations which are inadequately immunized." "WHO currently assesses the risk of international spread from Ukraine to be low," the report said. The organization noted though that the infected region "shares borders with four countries (Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland)."

The WHO pointed to the need for "a full and complete implementation of an outbreak response of the internationally-agreed standard." "It is important that all countries, in particular those with frequent travel and contacts with polio-affected countries and areas, strengthen surveillance for cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in order to rapidly detect any new virus importation and to facilitate a rapid response," the organization's report says.

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