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  • Second Acts    May 5 
Polio is making a huge comeback
PAULA BRONSTEIN/Getty Images
PAULA BRONSTEIN/Getty Images

This morning, the World Health Organization declared polio an international health emergency, saying the recent spread of the virus is cause for global concern.

The WHO specified Syria, Cameroon, and Pakistan as areas that are particularly vulnerable to polio's spread. These three countries showed higher rates of polio transmission to other countries, even when the virus wasn't as widespread. A total of 10 countries are currently reporting evidence of polio outbreaks.

"If the situation as of today and April 2014 is unchecked, it could result in the failure to eradicate globally one of the world's most serious vaccine preventable diseases," Dr. Bruce Ayleward, the WHO assistant director general for polio, emergencies, and country collaboration, told Time.

Emergency measures include required polio vaccines for residents of Syria, Cameroon, and Pakistan who plan to travel outside their countries. The committee will reconvene in three months to re-evaluate their recommendations to control the disease.

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