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WHO says spread of Polio in PNG is high

The World Health Organization has classified the further spread of polio in the country as 'high'.

In a statement, the WHO's country representative, Doctor Luo Dapeng, says this is due to the substantial vaccination coverage gaps across the country.

The statement was in relation to the discovery of a third polio case of a three year old boy, this time, from Mulitaka in Laiagam District in Enga Province, which has created concern at the National Department of Health, and labeling polio as spreading geographically.

Dr Dapeng says the identification of the third polio case highlights the importance of maintaining high levels of routine vaccination coverage and effective surveillance systems for early detection.

Dr Dapeng says the virus can emerge in populations which are inadequately immunized.

He says in many provinces, including Enga, the vaccination coverage is far below the required level.

The National Polio Response Emergency Operations Center is currently updating its risk assessment and planning the enhancement of response operations, including possible expansion of vaccination to the entire Highlands Region.

NBC News/PNG Today
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