UN says polio eradicated in Egypt and Niger

Sunday, February 19, 2006

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Countries with polio in 2005. Green denotes importation of polio. Red denotes an endemic.

The United Nations World Health Organization reported on February 15, 2006 that polio had been eradicated in Egypt and Niger. There has been no reported case of the disease in the past year, leading officials to believe the disease is no longer present.

Egypt's Minister of Health Hatem Mostafa El-Gabaly said Wednesday, "Polio has been endemic in our country for all of recorded history. The best tools of our age finally defeated this enemy, who has been with us from pharaonic times."

The disease, poliomyelitis, commonly known as polio was reported in 16 countries in the past year. In 2005, 1926 cases of polio were reported up from the 1255 cases reported in 2004.

Nigeria's boycott

In August 2003, prominent Nigerian clerics called for a boycott of immunizations. The clerics called the vaccine a plot led by the United States to sterilize Nigerians or infect them with AIDS.

Immunizations started up after local officials ended the boycott in July, 2004. Nigeria reported having 782 cases of the disease in 2004, up 427 from the previous year.