Nigeria: July 19, 2004



The northern state of Kano has ordered polio immunizations to resume, after a ten month halt because of rumors that the vaccine was actually a Western plot to make Moslem women sterile. The halt in vaccinations led to thousands of additional cases of polio, 77 percent of them Nigerian, but most of the remainder in ten other African nations, and with a strain of polio from Nigeria. Many Moslem religious leaders in northern Nigeria still believe that the vaccine is "tainted" and should be avoided. So it's uncertain how effective the vaccination campaign will be in stopping the polio outbreak. This part of Africa is one of the few places in the world where polio is still common, and the vaccination campaign was an effort to wipe out polio completely.