The World Health Organization (WHO) says an outbreak of polio that has crippled 13 children in war-torn Syria is linked to a strain of the virus from Pakistan.
The WHO says on its website that closely related wild poliovirus strains have also been detected in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
The WHO, the United Nations health agency, says emergency plans are being implemented to vaccinate more than 20 million children in the Middle East following the reemergence of polio in Syria during the civil war there.
The vaccinations are to be carried out in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Syria, and Turkey.
Polio, an infectious disease which can cripple a person’s central nervous system, is endemic in three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
Based on reporting by Reuters, RFE/RL, and AFP