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Global Health
June 18, 2014

WHO Declares Polio an International Health Emergency

JAMA. 2014;311(23):2372. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7241

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of the wild poliovirus to be a public health emergency requiring an international response to prevent resurgence of the disease (http://bit.ly/Q5J4qw).

A WHO panel convened in late April to address the recent increase in cases of polio and its spread beyond the 3 countries where it has remained endemic (Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan) to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Israel, Somalia, and Syrian Arab Republic. Of particular concern, this spread occurred from January through April, the time of year when polio transmission is normally at its lowest.