Polio :: Case of polio detected in Indonesia for first time in 10 years

Indonesia has detected its first case of polio in a decade, prompting the government to launch a massive vaccination campaign that is expected to reach more than five million children, the World Health Organization said.

A 20-month-old girl was diagnosed with polio on April 21 and authorities believe she came in contact with a migrant worker or tourist who had contracted the disease while outside the country.

The case – the first since 1995 – prompted government health workers to do house-to-house vaccinations in four neighbouring villages, intensify surveillance, and eventually vaccinate 5.2 million children under five by July.

“A case of polio has been detected in Indonesia,” said Dr. Bardan Rana, a WHO medical officer investigating the case. “This is an imported case. Somebody must have brought it in, spread around and then the person came in contact with the child.”

Indonesia is the latest polio-free country to find a new case. Since 2003, 15 other previously polio-free countries have reported new cases, after a vaccine boycott in Nigeria was blamed for causing an outbreak that spread the disease to other countries.

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