Nigeria sees signs of polio resurgence

Officials from UNICEF said on Tuesday that northern Nigeria has seen signs of a resurgence of polio cases, which threatens to erase gains that had led to the near eradication of the disease in the country.
Polio cases in the country dropped to 21 in 2010 from 338 cases in 2009. There have already been 20 cases of wild polio reported in six states in the north this year, however, France 24 reports.
"In recent times, we have made some commendable strides in our commitment to kick polio out of Nigeria," Jacques Boyer, the deputy head of the U.N. children's fund for Nigeria, said, according to France 24. "However, there are challenges in sustaining the progress made in polio eradication as Nigeria is currently experiencing new polio outbreaks."
The World Health Organization has pledged to stop the transmission of polio by the end of the year and to stamp out the virus worldwide by 2012.
"It is clear from the figures that we are beginning to lose some of the grounds covered in our polio eradication efforts." Boyer said, according to France 24. "We have come too far in our fight against polio to contemplate a relapse. Complacency is probably the biggest danger that might jeopardize success in eradicating polio."
The increase has been linked to decreased vaccinations for the disease, which has been a problem in the past for Nigeria. Between 2003 and 2004, the Nigerian state of Kano suspended immunization for polio for 13 months following allegations the vaccine was laced with substances that could render girls infertile.
The recent drop off may be more due to a lack of public health facilities this time around than conspiracy theories.