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Monday, November 7, 2011

Angola’s polio emergency

Article from SOS Children :

" Angola has called a state of emergency after a 14 month-old boy was diagnosed with Polio.

The boy, who has not been vaccinated, was tested for the virus after his leg became paralysed.

He lives with his parents in a cut off village near the south central African country’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where nine polio cases have been reported this year.

The United Nation's children’s agency (Unicef) is warning that it might be the start of an epidemic.

"The province has declared an emergency because last year there were 33 cases of polio in Angola and this year so far there were only four,” said Unicef’s Dr Koen Vanormelingen.

Polio is highly infectious and especially affects young children, and they become paralysed. It is spread through contaminated food and water. Once the virus gets into the digestive system, it multiplies and can spread into the nervous system.

Last year, Angola ran a mass vaccination programme to immunise all its children under five years-old. Children need three to four polio vaccines to be protected against the crippling disease."

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