Indonesia Confirms Two More Polio Cases

Fri May 13,10:36 PM ET

Indonesia Saturday confirmed two more cases of polio, including the first in the country's teeming capital, as it struggled to contain the first outbreak of the disease in 10 years.

The total number of case in the country is now eight, with several other suspected cases being investigated, said Dr. Yus Harman, director of epidemiology and immunization at the department of health.

Polio spreads through sewage-contaminated water and usually infects young children, attacking the nervous system and causing paralysis, muscular atrophy, deformation and sometimes death. It has been eradicated in much of the world, but remains endemic in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt.

Indonesia had not seen a polio case since 1995, and health experts say the latest outbreak is genetically linked to the virus circulating in Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The disease was likely imported to those countries from Nigeria, where polio vaccinations were suspended for several months in 2003 after radical Islamic preachers warned parents not to vaccinate their children against polio because they believed it was part of a U.S. plot against Muslims.

 

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