The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it intends to vaccinate 22 million children in the Middle East against polio after 13 cases of the disease have been confirmed in Syria. All countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region declared polio eradication an emergency and urged Pakistan to vaccinate all of its children to prevent the international spread of polio viruses. Pakistan is one of several countries that had not eradicated polio before the outbreak in Syria in October; WHO officials say that the Syria outbreak came from a strain that originated in Pakistan. “WHO and UNICEF are coordinating the vaccination campaign with all concerned parties to make sure that all children are vaccinated no matter where they are located,” Dr. Jaouad Mahjour, director of communicable diseases prevention and control at WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, said in a statement.
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