World Health Organization: Polio detected in Mali

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LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says a child has been paralyzed by polio which was detected in Mali.

It is the first case of polio in Mali since 2011 and WHO says the 19-month-old child was stricken in Guinea before arriving in Bamako. In a statement issued this week, WHO said the polio strain responsible for the new outbreak is derived from the vaccine.

Polio is a potentially fatal water-borne disease that mostly strikes children under 5. For every child that is paralyzed, there may be up to 200 others infected.

The oral polio vaccine used in the eradication campaign contains a live form of polio virus. When children are vaccinated, they excrete the weakened virus. In areas with poor sanitation, the virus can survive and in very rare instances, mutate into a new form capable of sparking outbreaks, particularly in a population that hasn't been vaccinated.

WHO said the risk of polio spreading further is "deemed high" and blamed the outbreak on low vaccination rates in Guinea, which is still battling Ebola.

Last week, WHO announced a similar polio outbreak in Ukraine, also caused by a mutated strain from the vaccine.

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