Monday, May 02, 2005

Polio now in Indonesia

Following my blogging on the spread of polio and vaccine skepticism, now comes news that polio has spread to Indonesia, previously free of the disease since 1995.
A case of polio has been detected in Indonesia, World Health Organization officials said today, indicating that an outbreak spreading from northern Nigeria since 2003 had crossed an ocean and reached the world's fourth-most-populous country.
This is extremely frustrating - we were so close to eradicating it for good. But now, thanks to unfounded rumors that polio vaccines are a Western plot to spread AIDS or make Muslims sterile,
With each new case, the W.H.O.'s goal of eradicating polio by the end of this year slips farther away. Its emergency response fund is virtually depleted and the agency has begun pleading with donors for help controlling new outbreaks in Ethiopia, Yemen and other very poor countries.

At the disease's low point, in early 2003, it was endemic in only six countries: Nigeria, Niger, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
Update: Orac has more on polio and anti-vaccine hysterics in general here.

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