ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s prime minister says the country is on a war footing to deal with the spread of polio and the army has been called in to help. The World Health Organization has asked Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria to ensure that all residents and long-term visitors are vaccinated for polio before travelling abroad. The WHO says the disease has been diagnosed in 10 countries. This year there have been 74 registered cases of polio worldwide and 59 of them have come from Pakistan. Pakistan’s failure to stem the spread of polio has triggered global emergency health measures, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending that all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country. Monday’s emergency measures also apply to Syria and Cameroon, which along with Pakistan are seen as posing the greatest risk of exporting the crippling virus and undermining a UN plan to eradicate it by 2018. Pakistan is in the spotlight, accounting for more than a fifth of the 417 cases reported globally in 2013. The virus has recently spread to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Syria, and has been found in sewage in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and greater Cairo, Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director general, said. More
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