The World Health Organization (WHO) says the spread of polio is now a global public health emergency that could grow in the coming months -- unraveling decades of work to eradicate the crippling disease.
The UN agency describes outbreaks across at least 10 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as an “extraordinary event” requiring an international response.
It identified Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon as countries that have allowed the virus to spread beyond their borders, recommending that their governments require citizens to obtain a certificate proving they’ve been vaccinated for polio before traveling abroad.
An independent monitoring board set up by the UN says Pakistan is “a powder keg that could ignite widespread polio transmission.”
Health experts worry about polio breaking out in countries where it had been eradicated, like Iraq, and that conflict-torn countries like Ukraine are vulnerable to polio reinfection.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP