Polio vaccine edict for Pakistani, Afghan visitors to Saudi Arabia

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JEDDAH: Visitors to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan and Afghanistan will need to be vaccinated against polio at least 12 months before their arrival under a new Health Ministry edict, Rehmat Mehsud reports.

Vaccination has been made mandatory because of the prevalence of the polio virus in both countries, the ministry told Arab News on Tuesday. Saudi health authorities are taking strict measures to prevent the virus spreading in the Kingdom, with health monitoring centers ensuring visitors have been inoculated against the disease at least a year before arrival.
The centers will also give all pilgrims booster doses of the polio vaccine depending on their country of origin. Wild poliovirus mainly affects children under five. One in 200 cases develops into irreversible paralysis while 5-10 percent die from respiratory failure.
Global efforts have expanded the capacity of most countries to tackle infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems.