Somalia Polio Outbreak Spreads

Has 105 cases, more than the rest of the world combined


Somalia is suffering an "explosive" outbreak of polio and now has more cases — 105 — than all other countries in the world combined, a World Health Organization official said Friday. The outbreak is complicated by the fact health workers have limited access to south-central Somalia, controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants.

Health officials are responding with vaccination campaigns that have reached 4 million people since the outbreak began in May, but those health officials have limited access to about 600,000 children who live in areas of Somalia controlled by the armed Islamist group al-Shabab.

In addition to the 105 cases, another 10 cases have been confirmed just across the border in Kenya in what is essentially the same outbreak.