UPDATE 1-Acute polio outbreak kills nearly 100 in Congo-WHO

Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:30pm GMT

* Outbreak unusual in that most victims are young adults

* Mass vaccinations scheduled in Congo, DRC and Angola

* Setback to global campaign to wipe out crippling disease

(adds global figures, background, byline)

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Polio has killed nearly 100 people, mainly young adults, in the Republic of Congo and paralysed more than twice as many in the past six weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

The crippling viral disease normally strikes children under five years of age, making the acute, fast-spreading outbreak unusual, the U.N. agency said.

"Most of the cases have involved young adults aged between 15 and 29. This illustrates that populations are at risk because they have not been exposed to a full immunisation," it said.

It marks the latest setback to a global campaign begun more than 20 years ago to wipe out polio, for which there is no cure, only preventive vaccines.   Continued...

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