For the first time in fourteen years, the World Health Organization(WHO) has confirmed cases of polio in Syria.
On Tuesday, the UN body confirmed 10 cases-- mostly babies, adding that another 12 are being investigated. “Out 10 of those cases, they've isolated wild polio virus type one. The other 12 are still being investigated,” said Oliver Rosenbauer, spokesman for the WHO's anti-polio division. Rosenbauer also warned that, “This is a communicable disease, and with population movements it can travel to other areas, and so the risk is high of a spread across the region of course.” Almost all children living in the Arab country were vaccinated against the disease before the militancy broke out in 2011. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 500,000 children have not been immunized against the disease. The WHO said, the outbreak is mainly affecting the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake also said on Tuesday that the polio outbreak, “now is not only a desperate issue for Syria, but it becomes part of the global issue as well.” Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence. The UN also says more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country. Two million Syrians are expected to take refuge outside the country while another 2.25 million are predicted to be internally displaced during the next year.