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Polio rises from the grave

October 23rd, 2013
08:50 AM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

The World Health Organization is awaiting confirmation of a possible outbreak of polio in Eastern Syria.

If confirmed, they would be the country's first such cases in 14 years.

In 2010, Syria's vaccination rate was 95%, among the highest in the region. But after two-and-a-half years of war, the vaccination rate has plummeted to 45%.

And Syria isn't the only breeding ground.

In Pakistan, the Taliban has banned vaccinations and targeted health workers – in part as retaliation for the C.I.A. plot to find Osama bin Laden.

Indeed, a Pakistani doctor was convicted of treason for using another kind of vaccination as a ruse to discover bin Laden's whereabouts.

So far this year, nearly 300 cases of polio have been reported – from places that know it all too well like Afghanistan and Nigeria, to countries like Somalia and Sudan, which had been considered polio-free.

There is no cure for polio – a silent, symptomless virus.

But, like war itself, it can be prevented.

The Friends of Syria met Tuesday in London, in the hopes of jump-starting peace talks in Geneva next month.

The specter of polio's return should be a reminder of what's at stake.


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    October 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
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  3. Mike

    The Syrian dictator is much better than the Islamist terrorist rebels. No polio for 14 years under Assad. Now with Islamic terrorist rebels running around polio rises from the grave. Same thing in Pakistan - Islamic terrorists shoot polio workers.

    October 24, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply

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