NAIROBI, Kenya

‘Explosive’ polio outbreak difficult to fight in Somalia

Somalia is suffering an “explosive” outbreak of polio and now has more cases than the rest of the world combined, an official said Friday.

Vaccine-wielding health workers face a daunting challenge: accessing areas of Somalia controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants, where seven of 10 children aren’t fully immunized.

Polio is mostly considered eliminated globally except mainly in three countries where it is considered endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. India marked a major success in February 2012 by being removed from the World Health Organization’s list of countries plagued by the disease.

Somalia now has 105 cases, figures released Friday show, and another 10 cases have been confirmed across the border in a Kenyan refugee camp filled with Somalis. Globally there have been 181 cases of polio this year, including those in Somalia and Kenya.

Vaccination campaigns in Somalia have reached 4 million people since the outbreak began in May, but those health officials have limited access to about 600,000 children who live in areas of Somalia controlled by the armed Islamist group al-Shabab.

“It’s very worrying because it’s an explosive outbreak and of course polio is a disease that is slated for eradication,” said Oliver Rosenbauer, a spokesman for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

BEIRUT

At least 15 killed in Aleppo as Syrian warplanes strike

Syrian warplanes struck targets in a rebel-held district in the contested northern city of Aleppo Friday, killing at least 15 people, wounding dozens of others and leaving some buried under the rubble of buildings, activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Aleppo Media center said the airstrike targeted three buildings that were almost completely flattened in the rebel-held district of Kalassa, killing at least four children.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground in Syria, said the death toll was likely to rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition and others were missing. The Aleppo Media Center, which tracks violence in the city, said 33 people were killed and over a hundred wounded in the airstrike. The different figures could not be reconciled.

LONDON

Man can obtain vasectomy despite consent limitation

A man who lacks the capacity to give informed consent can be given a vasectomy after he made repeated requests not to have more children, a British court ruled Friday.

The 36-year-old man, known only by his initials DE, has an IQ of 40 and lives with his parents. In 2009, DE’s girlfriend became pregnant and had a child. According to the court ruling, DE insisted he did not want any more children.

– From news service reports