Via NBC News: First Case of Polio Suspected Among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon. Excerpt:
A little boy lay on his hospital bed, his small body floppy on the left side. The 19-month-old, a refugee from the conflict in Syria, has not been vaccinated, and polio is suspected.
The child has been isolated with polio-like symptoms, NBC chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman said Tuesday. Dr. Zaher Haider, a pediatrician at the hospital filled with Syrian refugees in Taanayel, Lebanon, and officials from the World Health Organization have sent throat and stool samples from the boy to Cairo for confirmation of the deadly disease. A spinal tap for meningitis was negative.
If tests come back positive, this will be Lebanon’s first documented case of polio among Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a great concern because the disease can spread quickly, especially in crowded refugee camps, Snyderman said.
As the conflict enters its fourth year, millions of children in war-torn Syria and in refugee camps in neighboring countries are suffering from a severe lack of medical care. One in 10 children — more than 1.2 million — has fled Syria; there are over 500,000 Syrian children living as refugees in Lebanon. Since an outbreak of polio in Syria last year, world health officials have rushed to vaccinate children in the camps against the paralyzing disease.