A child from Mada’in district in Baghdad-Resafa province, Iraq, was confirmed positive for polio due to wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) last week, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) update May 28.

Poliovirus  Image/CDC
Poliovirus Image/CDC

This is the second child to be paralyzed by polio in the country since the beginning of the Middle East outbreak last year. The GPEI says a targeted mop-up campaign is currently ongoing in the area where the two cases in Iraq were found.

To date in 2014, there has been 84 cases of polio worldwide with 74 cases being reported from the three remaining endemic countries: Pakistan (67), Afghanistan (4) and Nigeria (3).  For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

The remaining 10 cases are from outbreaks in the Middle East and Africa.

According to the World Health Organization, poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.