Polio was on the ropes. Just when polio looked like it might roll over and die, the virus has come roaring back in the Horn of Africa.
Over the last two months there’ve been 25 new polio cases reported in Somalia and 6 cases in a nearby refugee camp in Kenya. Officials with World Health Organization expect that if this many cases of paralysis have been detected, more are in the pipeline.
Until April of this year, Somalia hadn’t had a polio case since 2007.
And globally the number of cases was dwindling to figuratively a handful.
Last year globally polio cases hit a record low…just 223. And those cases were just in 3 countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Global health officials looked to be on track to make polio the second human disease after smallpox to be eradicated.
The outbreak in the Horn of Africa however shows that polio may not go down without a fight.
Above a Somali baby is given polio drops during a vaccination drive in Mogadishu on April 24, 2013.
Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images