The deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar that is at ‘crisis’ point will trigger an outbreak of polio, a researcher warns.
Dr Derek Gatherer from Lancaster University fears aid workers will so focused on the ‘medieval disease’ they will forget nationwide efforts to prevent polio cases.
He told MailOnline: ‘It could derail the polio vaccine campaign, which would be a setback for eradication.
‘If [the] Madagascan health service is bursting at its seam coping with plague, then getting the polio vaccine programme running to plan will be something of a challenge.’
At least 171 people have died in the country off the coast of Africa’s ‘worst outbreak in 50 years’ and 2,119 have been infected, World Health Organization figures show.
International aid workers are desperately battling to contain the ‘crisis’, which has prompted 10 nearby African countries to be placed on high alert by the WHO.
Nationwide polio campaigns have been in place in recent years to immunise millions of children aged up to five years old against the paralysing condition.