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Polio Outbreak In Somalia, Low Immunization Rates In Ukraine Pose Challenges For WHO

NPR’s “Shots” blog reports on an outbreak of polio in Somalia, which had not recorded a case of the disease for more than five years. “Polio has paralyzed 25 kids in Somalia and another six in a Kenyan refugee camp since early May, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reported Wednesday,” the blog writes, adding the outbreak could threaten progress in efforts to eradicate the disease. “Despite … security problems in Somalia, emergency responses to the polio cases are underway,” but “WHO expects to see more polio cases reported from Somalia in the coming weeks,” the blog notes (Beaubien, 6/28). In related news, Inter Press Service reports that “Ukraine is facing a ‘real threat’ of a return of polio as well as outbreaks of other serious diseases such as mumps, rubella and measles because of a combination of state inefficiency and public mistrust of vaccinations, health experts have said.” The news service examines public opinion about immunization in the country and the challenges the WHO faces in improving vaccination coverage (Stracansky, 6/28).