FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Rotary International supports WHO recommendations on polio containment

The service organization Rotary International announced on Tuesday that it supports recent World Health Organization recommendations on containing polio.


An emergency committee convened last month by WHO called the recent outbreak of polio around the world an "extraordinary event." It called on all polio-endemic countries to immunize all long-term travelers and residents looking to travel outside their borders.


Rotary agreed with that recommendation.


"This is a positive step needed to safeguard the remarkable progress the world has made toward ending polio forever," Robert S. Scott, the chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee, said. "We know that outbreaks will continue to occur until we can stop polio at the source."


Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria are the countries currently at the greatest risk of exporting polio. WHO recommended that those countries take extra precautions to immunize travelers for at least six months after the last recorded exportation of the virus.


Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq recently recorded cases of polio but are not currently exporting the disease. WHO recommended that those countries also move to immunize travelers to prevent the disease from spreading.


WHO reports that 74 cases of polio have been recorded so far in 2014, with 59 cases in Pakistan. No other countries have seen more than four cases of the virus.


Polio mainly affects children under the age of five. One in 200 cases result in paralysis.