The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned over the spread of polio as the disease becomes an international public health emergency.
Outbreaks in Asia, Africa and Middle East are an “extraordinary event” needing a coordinated “international response”, the WHO said.
The agency recommends citizens of affected countries travelling abroad carry a vaccination certificate.
The conditions for a public health emergency of “international concern” were met, said the WHO’s Bruce Aylward.
Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director General, was speaking after an emergency meeting in Geneva on the spread of polio which included representatives of the affected countries.
“The international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an <<extraordinary event>> and a public health risk to other states for which a co-ordinated international response is essential,” the WHO’s Emergency Committee said in statement.
“If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases.”
“Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014,” the WHO says.
The WHO lists Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria as “posing an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014”.