Laos Suffers Polio Case In Setback To Eradication Hopes

Laos has suffered a case of vaccine-derived polio, the World Health Organization said on Monday, in a new setback to hopes of eradicating the disease after the virus resurfaced in Ukraine and Mali.

The WHO said an 8-year-old boy died of the disease on Sept. 11, and genetic sequencing suggested the strain of the disease had been circulating in the area of Bolikhamxay province, which has chronically low immunization rates, for more than two years.

Laos has been free of the wild polio virus since 1993 but poor immunization rates can leave children at risk of catching the crippling disease from the virus after it has been excreted by immunized children and begins to mutate in sewage.

Source: Reuters