A Pakistani Muslim cleric has said that polio vaccinations are un-Islamic. And such “extremist” clerics are not just in Pakistan: in Nigeria, a Muslim cleric was arrested for playing a role in sparking the murders of polio workers. The Times does not even come close to mentioning that. Nor does it explain that polio has spread from Pakistan to Syria because jihad fighters have taken it from one to the other. The Times can’t talk about any of this, because to do so would be “Islamophobic.”
“Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning,” by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., New York Times, May 5, 2014 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007.
Just two years ago — after a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children — the paralyzing virus was near eradication; now health officials say that goal could evaporate if swift action is not taken.
Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have recently allowed the virus to spread — to Afghanistan, Iraq and Equatorial Guinea, respectively — and should take extraordinary measures to stop it, the health organization said.
“Things are going in the wrong direction and have to get back on track before something terrible happens,” said Gregory Hartl, a W.H.O. spokesman. “So we’re saying to the Pakistanis, the Syrians and the Cameroonians, ‘You’ve really got to get your acts together.’ ”…
Good luck with that.
With 54 of this year’s 68 new infections, Pakistan is by far the riskiest country, Dr. Aylward said. Polio has never been eliminated there, Taliban factions have forbidden vaccinations in North Waziristan for years, and those elsewhere have murdered vaccine teams.
Syria has had only one confirmed case of polio this year, but it had 13 cases last October, the first in the country since 1999.
Before the uprising began in 2011, Syria had a 90 percent vaccination rate, but it fell rapidly in war-torn areas. About 300,000 children are in areas blocked off by the government or too dangerous to reach, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The Syrian cases from last year were of the Pakistan strain, which was found in Egypt last year, then moved into Israel, first in a largely Bedouin desert town, then elsewhere. How it reached Syria is unclear, but in April it was found in a Syrian refugee camp in Iraq, despite extensive vaccination campaigns in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere.
“Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to do in refugee camps,” Mr. Hartl said.
With Syrians fleeing massacres and bombings, it seems absurd to make them stop and produce vaccination cards, critics said….