May 24, 2012

WHO expected to launch 'emergency plan' to eradicate polio.

The World Health Organization is expected to declare polio a global emergency after outbreaks in countries previously free of the disease. 

The WHO wants to boost programmes in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the only countries where the disease is still endemic.

It says tackling polio is "at a tipping point between success and failure".

India, once regarded as one of the most challenging countries, was declared free of the disease in February.

There have been large outbreaks of the virus in Africa, Tajikistan and China has had its first cases for more than a decade.

Members of the WHO, meeting in Geneva, will vote this week on whether to declare polio eradication an "emergency for public health".

The WHO estimates that failure to act could lead to as many as 200,000 paralyzed children a year worldwide within a decade.

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