Via Reuters: Pakistan's failings to fight polio spark global emergency response. Excerpt:
Pakistan's failure to stem the spread of polio triggered global emergency health measures on Monday, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country.
The emergency measures also apply to Syria and Cameroon, which along with Pakistan are seen as posing the greatest risk of exporting the crippling virus and undermining a U.N. plan to eradicate it by 2018.
Pakistan is in the spotlight as the only country with endemic polio that saw cases rise last year. Its caseload rose to 93 from 58 in 2012, accounting for more than a fifth of the 417 cases globally in 2013.
The virus has recently spread to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Syria, and has been found in sewage in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and greater Cairo, said WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward. It also appeared in China two years ago.
"In the majority of these reinfected areas, the viruses circulating actually trace back to Pakistan within the last 12-18 months," Aylward told reporters on a conference call.
Pakistan has called an emergency meeting of senior provincial and federal health officials for Wednesday to finalize how to implement the new requirements.
"The best option would be vaccinating the passengers at the airport departure where polio vaccination cards would be issued to the passengers. Human resource and vaccines would have to be worked out for the purpose," State Minister for Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said in a televised broadcast.
"It would be most practical as people often have to fly in emergencies."