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Polio’s Spread Within, Out Of Pakistan At Root Of WHO’s Global Health Emergency Declaration

News outlets continue to report on the WHO’s declaration of polio as a global emergency.

ABC News: Polio, Spreading Abroad, Threatens U.S.
“A resurgence of polio in the Middle East and Africa has sparked a dire warning from public health officials, including U.S. experts who fear the deadly virus is just a plane ride away…” (Moisse, 5/5).

CNN: WHO sounds alarm on spread of polio
“…At the end of 2013, 60 percent of polio cases resulted from the international spread of the virus, and ‘there was increasing evidence that adult travelers contributed to the spread,’ according to the [WHO] statement…” (Hayes, 5/5).

CNN: Pakistan grapples with polio fight
“…The country faces challenges within its health system including restricted access to its federally administered tribal areas and violence against polio campaign health workers. Vaccine workers have been tortured, shot, bombed, and even have had their family members kidnapped…” (Park, 5/6).

New York Times: Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning
“Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007…” (McNeil, 5/5).

NPR: The Comeback Of Polio Is A Public Health Emergency
“…The global drive to wipe out the virus had driven the number of polio cases down from 300,000 in the late 1980s to just 417 cases last year. The World Health Organization has set a goal of wiping out polio by 2018. But this year, polio has been reported in 10 countries, and there are fears the number could rise…” (Beaubien, 5/5).

Reuters: Pakistan’s failings to fight polio spark global emergency response
“Pakistan’s failure to stem the spread of polio triggered global emergency health measures on Monday, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country…” (Miles, 5/5).

ScienceInsider: Calling Polio an International Emergency, WHO Recommends Travel Requirements
“Under the new recommendations, which are not legally binding but carry tremendous weight, the three countries deemed to pose the greatest risk of further spread — Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria — must now ensure that all residents and long-term visitors have proof of recent polio vaccination before leaving the country. WHO is also encouraging the seven other nations known to have polio infections to implement similar measures…” (Roberts, 5/5).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency declares global health emergency to stem potential resurgence of polio
“…The Committee also identified countries where the wild poliovirus is active but currently not being transmitted to neighboring countries. That group includes Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Nigeria…” (5/5).

USA Today: Polio spread is a global health emergency, WHO declares
“…WHO reported 413 cases of polio worldwide in 2013. There have been 74 cases so far in 2014 and 59 of those occurred in Pakistan, the agency’s Bruce Aylward said in a phone conference with reporters…” (Painter, 5/5).

VOA News: WHO Calls Polio’s Spread a Global Emergency
“…WHO’s assistant director general, Bruce Aylward, said the situation was particularly serious because the new polio infections have occurred between January and April, traditionally the disease’s low transmission season…” (Behn, 5/5).

Wall Street Journal: Spread of Polio Is World Health Emergency, WHO Says
“…Pakistan’s government said on Monday that it would step up its efforts to improve vaccination and fight the disease…” (McKay/Shah, 5/5).