17 Syrian Children Paralyzed by Polio

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Polio has paralyzed at least 17 children in an outbreak affecting eastern Syria, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

All of the children developed paralysis between March 3 and May 23, according to Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, The New York Times reported.

One confirmed case of polio-linked paralysis is considered an outbreak because doctors assume it means up to 200 other people may have been exposed to the polio virus.

The outbreak was confirmed by WHO on June 8 and Jasarevic described it as “very serious.” This is the second polio outbreak in Syria since the start of its civil war more than six years ago, The Times reported.

More than 400,000 children under the age of 5 in the Deir al-Zour area, where the outbreak was first confirmed, urgently require vaccination, according to Jasarevic.

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