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Syria Reports 22 Suspected Polio Cases In Country’s First Outbreak In 14 Years

“At least 22 people are suspected of having polio in Syria, the first outbreak of the crippling viral disease in 14 years, the [WHO] said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “The WHO, a U.N. agency, said on Saturday that two suspected cases of polio had been detected, the first appearance of the disease in Syria since 1999,” the news service writes, adding, “Initial tests came back positive for polio in two of the 22 cases and final laboratory results due next week from a WHO reference laboratory in Tunisia are ‘very, very likely’ to confirm presence of the virus,” WHO spokesperson Oliver Rosenbauer said. “More than 100,000 children under the age of five are deemed at risk of polio in the eastern province,” Reuters notes, adding, “Vaccination campaigns are being planned across Syria from November but the logistics were still being discussed, [Rosenbauer] said” (Nebehay, 10/24).