Tajikistan polio outbreak expected to stall

The Eurasia Review reports that Tajikistan is expected to see a sharp decrease in polio cases thanks to a nationwide immunization effort.

“During the immunization campaign we are vaccinating all children under six, which is about 1.1 million children," Cristiana Salvi, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization in Tajikistan, said in the capital Dushanbe. "We are sure that the result of these three rounds will be a decrease of infected cases."

The campaign's first round of vaccinations was completed May 8. Two more rounds of efforts will be conducted in May and June, the report states.

The campaign is being implemented for a needy population. According to the report, the WHO states that Tajikistan has reported 278 cases of acute flaccid paralysis in 2010. AFP is the most common sign of acute polio, according to the report. Of the 278 cases, 56 have been confirmed as cases of wild poliovirus type 1, according to the report. Fifty-two of the 56 cases have been confirmed in children six years and younger. Only five of the 278 cases have been confirmed negative for poliovirus, while Eurasia Review reports that testing is still being conducted on the other cases where AFP was found. There have been two confirmed deaths related to polio so far in 2010 in Tajikistan, according to the report.

The Tajikistan polio outbreak is the first in the European region since it was declared a "polio-free zone" by the WHO in 2002, according to the report.