WHO Reports Polio Eradicated in Somalia

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The World Health Organization says a massive vaccination campaign has eliminated polio in Somalia.

Thousands of volunteers fanned out across the country, giving nearly 2 million children repeated doses of an oral vaccine. The result: No Somali child has been paralyzed by polio in the past year.

But that very good news could be overwhelmed by all of the bad news there. War, drought and food shortages have brought on a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, aid agencies say. It's so bad that the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, deems Somalia the worst place in the world for children.

So polio "could absolutely return," one doctor says.

Polio was wiped out of Somalia in 2002 but re-emerged three years later.

The WHO has missed its own target dates to eradicate polio globally. It remains a problem in countries that include Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other countries, new cases were discovered last year.

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