Polio have been confirmed among children in Syria, the first outbreak of the disease in that country since 1999, a World Health Organization spokesman confirmed to CNN. Most of the victims were younger than two years old and were unimmunized or underimmunized, WHO said in a statement.
The Syrian Health Ministry is working with international organizations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to get the vaccine to all areas of Syria. Health officials recently launched a program to immunize 1.6 million Syrian children against polio, measles, mumps and rubella — in government- and rebel-held areas. The response, which will also include neighboring countries, is expected to last at least six months, the WHO said.
Given the fighting, the large-scale movement of refugees and the number of children who have not been fully immunized, “the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high.”