Ten million young children in the Middle East will get a polio vaccine over the next several weeks in response to an outbreak in Syria, which had been free of the highly infectious, incurable disease for more than a dozen years.
The United Nations announced the campaign last week after 22 children in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province became paralyzed. Ten cases have been confirmed as polio, which cripples and sometimes kills. Test results for the remaining 12 are expected within days.
Under any circumstances, vaccinating 10 million people would require a lot of coordination and manpower. But in a country like Syria where civil war has mangled the health care system and driven millions from their homes, it’s a particularly tricky proposition.