Some 170,000 children around the country out of a total of one million have
already received an oral polio vaccine in a campaign due to proceed over the
next three months. The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday that 35,000 had
received two drops of OPV that day. This brought the total of the national
campaign to 74,000 children during the past three days, in addition to the more
urgent vaccination effort, now in its third week, being held in the south of the
country, where the wild polio virus was found in sewage and in a few dozen
No one has taken sick with the paralytic disease since the
virus was first detected in sewage treatment plants in February.
ministry criticized sensational headlines in some of the news media on Monday
and Tuesday that claimed “thousands” of children with weak immune systems due to
chronic diseases ranging from cancer to AIDS would be prohibited from going to
school until six weeks after the end of the three-month vaccination
The ministry said that only a few hundred children who had
recently undergone a bone marrow transplant, suffered from active leukemia or
had a shortage of gamma globulin in their blood should not go to school – which
they are not able to attend regularly because of their situation – until that
date because their severely compromised immune systems could put them at risk
from the attenuated virus in the oral vaccine.
The ministry declared that
children who had received at least three injected killedpolio virus
vaccinations, which protected them from the paralytic disease, could go to
school when classes opened. In addition, medical staffers with weak immune
systems could also go to work.
All groups should observe basic rules of
hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water after visiting the toilet
or being in contact with dirty diapers, as well as before preparing and eating
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