(Bloomberg) Polio Declared Emergency as Conflicts Fuel Virus Spread

The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, the Geneva-based WHO said in an e-mailed statement today. Those nations should declare national public health emergencies and ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel internationally, WHO Director General Margaret Chan said, citing recommendations from an emergency committee.

Polio, driven to the brink of eradication in 2012, has resurged as conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO.

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