GENEVA (AP) – The U.N. health agency played down fears of a major polio
outbreak in Saudi Arabia fueled by Islamic pilgrims from African nations
still in the grip of the disease.

Saudi authorities have reported three cases of polio, including one this
week in a boy from Nigeria, where a vaccine boycott by hard-line Muslim
clerics in the country’s north spawned a resurgence of the disease across
Africa, infecting children in formerly polio-free nations.

“This isn’t a major setback,” said Bruce Aylward, who coordinates the World
Health Organization’s anti-polio initiative.

The WHO also said it was on track in its worldwide campaign to eradicate
the crippling and sometimes fatal disease


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