C’bean work­ing to keep re­gion free of po­lio

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - CLOVIS TOON -

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Au­thor­i­ties in the Dominican Repub­lic say the death toll from an ex­plo­sion at a plas­tics com­pany has risen to four.

A state­ment from the Na­tional Health Ser­vice also says that the num­ber of in­jured has risen to 66, with five peo­ple in crit­i­cal con­di­tion fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s blast in the cap­i­tal of Santo Domingo.

The sub-di­rec­tor of the Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter told The As­so­ci­ated Press yes­ter­day that two peo­ple are still miss­ing. Ed­win Oli­vares also said that of­fi­cials have not been able to iden­tify two of the four vic­tims.

He said many work­ers sur­vived the large ex­plo­sion at the Poly­plas com­pany be­cause they fol­lowed se­cu­rity pro­to­cols.

Busi­ness owner Manuel Diez Cabral tweeted that 98 per cent of staff mem­bers were evac­u­ated fol­low­ing what he said was an “un­con­trol­lable” gas leak. GU­ATEMALA CITY, Gu­atemala (CMC) — The Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (PAHO) says Caribbean coun­tries are seek­ing to con­sol­i­date mea­sures to main­tain elim­i­na­tion and avoid rein­tro­duc­tion of po­liomyeli­tis, or po­lio as it is com­monly called.

PAHO said that the re­gion of the Amer­i­cas reg­is­tered its last case of po­lio in 1991, and, in 1994, was the first in the world to re­ceive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) as free of the dis­ease.

“As long as there is even one in­fected child, chil­dren in all coun­tries are at risk of con­tract­ing po­lio,” said Cuauhté­moc Ruiz­ma­tus, PAHO’S chief of the Com­pre­hen­sive Fam­ily Im­mu­niza­tion Unit, dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion here of the sixth Re­gional Meet­ing on Po­lio: “On the way to global cer­ti­fi­ca­tion”, which took place yes­ter­day.

PAHO said po­liomyeli­tis is a highly con­ta­gious dis­ease caused by a virus that in­vades the ner­vous sys­tem and can cause paral­y­sis in a mat­ter of hours.

It said while it has no cure, it can be pre­vented through vac­ci­na­tion. Chil­dren un­der the age of five are the most af­fected.

PAHO said cases of po­liomyeli­tis have de­creased by more than 99 per cent glob­ally, from an es­ti­mated 350,000 in 1988 in more than 125 en­demic coun­tries, to 27 re­ported so far in 2018.

How­ever, PAHO said it is es­ti­mated that, if the goal of global erad­i­ca­tion is not reached, there would be a resur­gence around the world within 10 years that could gen­er­ate 200,000 new cases per year.

Rosamund Lewis, team leader of the Strate­gic Plan­ning and Anal­y­sis, Po­lio Op­er­a­tions and Research Unit at WHO, said that “the world must thank the re­gion of the Amer­i­cas for its pa­tience, for be­ing the first to elim­i­nate po­lio and for con­tin­u­ing to wait for the rest of the world”.

Lewis said that there are chal­lenges to reach­ing ev­ery child with vac­ci­na­tion and achiev­ing global cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for elim­i­na­tion.

(Photo: AP)

black plume of smoke A rises af­ter an ex­plo­sion at the Poly­plas plant in the Vil­las Agri­co­las neigh­bour­hood inSanto Domingo, on Dominican Repub­lic, Wed­nes­day.

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