Polio outbreak in the Congo kills 128

A recent polio outbreak in the Central African Republic of Congo has killed 128 people and paralyzed a further 280, according to reports from the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has confirmed the deaths and made a plea for funding of up to $1.5 million to help curb the situation, according to AFP.

"The situation is dire and we are very concerned as the epidemic is spreading at an unprecedented rate," Christian Sedar Ndinga, the head of the Congolese Red Cross, said, according to AFP. "Swift action is needed."

Any funds raised by the Red Cross will go directly to the training of staff to deal with epidemic, which emerged in early October, as well as the provision of clean water and sanitation, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"We must act urgently," Ndinga said, AFP reports. "We have mobilized more than 700 volunteers to deal with this crisis in the Kouilou and Pointe Noire regions, which are the most severely affected."

Brazzaville. the Congolese capital, has become one of the most affected areas.

Aid workers recently launched a mass polio vaccination campaign and, according to officials, the country still needs 12 million doses for its completion. The government declared a state of emergency on November 9 and has announced plans to vaccinate the entire population.

This is the Republic of Congo’s first reported polio outbreak in a decade.