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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Namibia suffers polio 'setback'
By Frauke Jensen
BBC News, Windhoek

Namibian children
Since 1990, children have been vaccinated against polio
Namibia has announced that the country is suffering from its first polio outbreak in more than a decade.

"It is quite a setback for us. We were moving closer to achieving the status of polio eradication," health ministry official Dr Kalumbi Shangula said.

He said as most victims were aged over 20 they had missed out on under-five vaccination campaigns carried out since 1990, when Namibia gained independence.

Seven people have died and 27 others have been paralysed since mid-May.

Investigations into whether the outbreak was due to faeces infested water or foodstuffs, or whether it had been brought in from outside are still not conclusive.

"Preliminary results indicate a polio virus 1 Wild Type," Permanent Health Secretary Dr Shangula said

It was now necessary to target every citizen and health authorities were already working on a mass public education and vaccination campaign, he said.

It is to take place as soon as vaccines, logistics and financing of the campaign with the support of international agencies have been arranged.

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