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Global Health
September 17, 2014

Combating the Return of Polio in Iraq

JAMA. 2014;312(11):1088. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12196

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization began a mass polio vaccination campaign to reach the more than 4 million children younger than 5 years in Iraq, which has seen a return of the virus for the first time since 2000 (http://bit.ly/VuWlf0).

Violence occurring in Iraq since the beginning of the year has displaced more than a million residents, making the population vulnerable to a larger outbreak of polio. Despite many vaccination campaigns carried out over the last several months in Iraq and Syria, children in combat zones and hard-to-reach areas have not been vaccinated.