FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

WHO probes potential polio cases in Syria

The World Health Organization reported on Saturday officials are awaiting confirmation of two acute flaccid paralysis cases that tested positive for polio amid an outbreak of AFP in Syria.

The outbreak of AFP began earlier this month in Syria's Deir Al Zour province. Public health officials are in the process of investigating the outbreak and following up on subsequent cases of AFP.

The national polio laboratory in Damascus, Syria, concluded that two infected individuals tested positive for polio. Public health officials are awaiting confirmation of those preliminary results from the regional reference laboratory of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of WHO.

The last naturally-occurring polio case reported in Syria was in 1999.

Syria's Ministry of Health has launched an "urgent response" to the outbreak. Public health officials there are responding to the event as though it's a outbreak of "hot" AFP cases.

Residents of Syria are at a higher risk for polio and other preventable diseases because of the ongoing conflict there.

The region was placed under a surveillance alert so public health officials could seek out additional cases that have not yet been reported. Increased immunization activities are planned for neighboring countries.