Nov 8, 2013

A polio outbreak in Syria threatens to spread into Europe, according to experts.

WHO has confirmed an outbreak of at least ten cases of polio in Syria, where vaccination coverage has dramatically decreased during the civil war.

Furthermore, wild-type poliovirus 1 (WPV1) has been isolated from sewage and faeces from asymptomatic carriers in Israel since February, 2013. Tourists and travellers could bring the infection to other countries.

Precautions during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia in October, 2013, ensured that visitors from regions with known polio transmission were vaccinated, but Syria was not on the list.

Moreover, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing Syria and seek refuge in neighbouring countries and Europe.