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Indonesia polio outbreak nearly contained: officials JAKARTA - Indonesia has nearly contained its first polio outbreak in a decade because of fast action in vaccinating children in affected areas and a willingness to seek international help, health officials said on Monday.

Indonesian officials have detected eight polio-infected patients since discovering the first case last month about 100 km (62 miles) south of Jakarta. Several suspected cases are under investigation and a mass vaccination is set for May 31.

All the infected children live close to the first case in Girijaya village near the West Java city of Sukabumi, although one patient suffering from the virus was brought to a Jakarta hospital by relatives who were oblivious to the outbreak.

"We acted quickly," said Muhammad Nadirin, head of epidemiology surveillance at the health ministry. "In less than 72 hours after the first case, we conducted an outbreak response immunisation in 15 villages around the original location." He said 12,800 children under the age of five in the area have been immunised to the disease, which can cause irreversible paralysis, deformation and sometimes death.

Indonesia's response contrasts to an explosion of cases in Yemen, another country beset by a revival of polio. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Yemen's outbreak could cripple more than 100 children before it is brought under control.

The twin outbreaks in Indonesia and Yemen raised fears that the virus was spreading from Africa and the Middle East to Asia and dealt a setback to a WHO campaign to stop global transmission of polio by year-end.

Indonesia plans to vaccinate about 5.2 million children on May 31 across the provinces of West Java, Banten and the city of Jakarta, which administratively is an individual province. On June 28, the same children get a second round of vaccinations. "There are only small pockets that have not received immunisation, mostly in remote areas where they lack information," Nadirin told Reuters.

Another key factor is Indonesia's years of experience which have left more than 80 percent of its children already immunised. Support from international agencies, especially the U.N.'s World Health Organisation and UNICEF, was also crucial.

'No Hesitation'

John Budd of the UN children agency told Reuters Indonesia was quick in setting up a reporting mechanism for cases of paralysis, which enabled them to target other areas at risk. "There was no hesitation. It was a very aggressive approach," he said. "Nothing more could be done. You can't do any more than they have announced very early on what they are going to do."

Asked about the patient moved to the capital, Nadirin said her parents had the right to find medical care where they could but that future suspected cases should be referred to hospitals in the Sukabumi area. Indonesia is the 16th country previously believed to be polio-free to be reinfected in the past two years.

The top WHO representative in Indonesia, Georg Petersen, said Jakarta had plenty experience with polio vaccination programmes and officials "have done exactly what they are supposed to do".

The WHO has said the Indonesian cases are almost identical to a strain circulating in parts of Africa and that the disease may have reached the country from Africa via the Middle East.

Health officials said it may have been carried by a migrant worker or a Haj pilgrim who visited Saudi Arabia before returning to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.


Link to related event Related event:
Polio in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Polio') Related blog entries (category 'Polio'):
14 May 2005 · Indonesia polio cases hit 8, one treated in Jakarta
05 May 2005 · Polio spreads with three new cases
04 May 2005 · Indonesia confirms new polio cases
03 May 2005 · Indonesia to vaccinate five million children in polio scare
03 May 2005 · African polio found in Indonesia


Posted in Polio @ 17 May 2005 07:10 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Jeroen
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34 new polio cases in Indonesia for total of 100


The World Health Organization on Tuesday reported 34 new polio cases in Indonesia, bringing the country's known total to 100. One of the new cases was confirmed on Sumatra, which until last week was polio-free.


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Jeroen
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Polio vaccination drive largely successful


Indonesia's nationwide drive last week to vaccinate about 24 million young children against a spreading polio outbreak was largely successful though some parents continued to resist, health officials said Monday.


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