Tajikistan anti-polio drive to begin Saturday : WHO
Tajikistan will begin mass immunisation against polio on Saturday after an outbreak of the disease that has killed 12 people since March, the World Health Organisation said.
The WHO said Friday that the disease continued to spread, with Tajik health authorities recording 171 cases of acute flaccid paralysis, the primary symptom of polio, compared to 122 about a week ago.
"Thirty-two of these cases are confirmed wild poliovirus type one, results are pending for the remaining cases... There have been 12 deaths," the WHO said in a statement.
Mass vaccination is due to take place in May and June.
"The first round will begin in the capital Dushanbe and six surrounding districts on May 1," the WHO said.
The resurgence of polio in Tajikistan, which had previously experienced its last case of the disease in 1997, highlighted a renewed spread of the disease in Asia.
Genetic testing showed that the cases in the southwest of the country were closely related to a virus from Uttar Pradesh, India, the WHO said Friday.
India is one of the four remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic, along with Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Polio has spread again in recent years with imported cases, but so far mainly sourced from Africa, in a setback to global attempts to eradicate the crippling and sometimes lethal disease.
© 2010 AFP