German scientists say polio outbreak, confirmed in at least 10 Syrian children, may threaten Europe.
They said in the Lancet medical journal on Friday that the risk to Europe was partly because of the type of vaccine normally used in regions where the disease has not been present for many years.
“Definitely, as long as there are countries worldwide with a polio transmission, there is a threat to our status of being polio-free and there is a threat that the infection, not necessarily the disease, will be introduced to Germany. Currently, we have a rather high vaccination coverage in most countries of central Europe and western Europe so the threat of an introduction is not that high,” said Martin Eichner, professor and infection epidemiology expert at the University of Tubingen.
Polio can spread rapidly by passing from one person to another, especially in the unsanitary conditions of displaced people in Syria or in overpopulated refugee camps in the neighboring countries.