Polio threatens Syria's children: IRC urges immediate ceasefire for vaccination campaign
October 30, 2013 by The IRC
|A polio outbreak was confirmed this week in Syria. The International Rescue Committee can reach up to 300,000 people quickly with vaccinations, says IRC president David Miliband — but safe access and supplies are urgently needed. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
"This is an urgent problem: 1 out of 200 children infected with the polio virus develops paralysis. The other 199 that are infected do not develop the disease, but are spreading the virus and infecting others. The outbreak in Deir al-Zour threatens neighboring governorates where the International Rescue Committee is providing life-saving medical care, as well as in neighboring countries. An immunization campaign is urgently needed in these regions and the IRC is ready to act, and can reach up to 300,000 people quickly, but we need safe access and supply."
While vaccination is the most effective way to limit the spread of polio, simple hygiene methods can also help. The IRC is preparing hygiene campaigns in the region including hygiene education and the provision of soap to thousands of families.