The World Health Organization on Tuesday confirmed that the first cases of Polio since 1999 have been recorded in China. The WHO says the strain known as WPV1 is genetically linked to a type already circulating in Pakistan and has been tracked in China for the past two months.
The organization links at least seven cases in China’s western Xinjiang province to Polio, an area that borders Pakistan.
News of the outbreak comes after the World Health Organization warned that Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca could spread Polio into the region.
Health officials say Polio is highly infectious and affects the nervous system, sometimes leading to paralysis. Citizens in China should be aware that Polio is transferred through food, drinking water and faeces making it severely hard to avoid.
To deal with the outbreak a mass vaccination campaign has been started by Chinese authorities and various health organizations operating in the country.
In the meantime Pakistan is one of the few countries where polio is still endemic which provides the possibility that other outbreaks could be introduced into China in the future.
Eradicating polio according to various health organizations requires administering oral vaccines to everyone, even people located in the most remote regions of the world.