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U.N. warns of possible Indonesia polio epidemic JAKARTA - Indonesia's polio outbreak could develop into an epidemic with the onset of the wet season, a U.N. official said on Tuesday, one week before the start of a campaign to vaccinate 24 million children nationwide. Polio returned in May to Indonesia, which had been free of the water-borne disease since 1995.

The outbreak first hit villages near the West Java city of Sukabumi and spread to adjacent provinces. The number of cases has now hit 225, with the latest -- in the outer province of Lampung province on Sumatra island -- prompting the mass vaccination drive. According to the U.N. World health Organisation (WHO), no deaths have been reported from the current polio outbreak, but officials are conducting an investigation into the death of a 25-year-old man in Jakarta who had been infected with the virus.

"The difference between the current situation and an epidemic is very subtle. I think you can say if there were ongoing transmissions across a wide area that would be more provinces and more cases. It would be defined as an epidemic," David Hipgrave of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) told reporters. "The wet season is approaching in Indonesia in a month or two, when waste is less efficiently dealt with ... there's a higher risk that water supply for a broad of range of communities will be contaminated with the virus," added Hipgrave, who heads the fund's health and nutrition unit. Indonesia's wet season is usually between October and April.

UNICEF and the WHO will support the vaccination programme involving 750,000 vaccinators at 245,000 immunisation posts. At least 500 posts will also be set up at various airports, bus stations and ports to vaccinate travelling children under five years old. The first round of vaccinations will be carried out on Aug. 30 and the second on Sept. 27. Polio attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in hours. Children are most at risk.

Two rounds of immunisations were carried out in late May and late June in West Java and Banten provinces and the capital, Jakarta. Both rounds reached around six million children. The global battle against polio has faced setbacks in the past two years since Nigeria's northern state of Kano banned immunisation out of fear it could cause sterility or spread HIV/AIDS. Vaccinations resumed after the 10-month ban.

But the virus spread across Africa, crossed the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and reached Indonesia, infecting previously polio-free countries along the way. Indonesian health officials have said the virus 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'):
08 August 2005 · Polio cases hit 205 in Indonesia, two in capital
07 August 2005 · Indonesia's polio outbreak infects over 200 children
29 July 2005 · Indonesia braces for Kawasaki virus
22 July 2005 · Polio toll climbs to 155 in Indonesia
13 July 2005 · Wild virus polio appears in Indonesia


Posted in Polio @ 24 August 2005 08:58 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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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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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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