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Around 200 children infected by polio in Somalia: UN


NAIROBI (AFP) - Some 200 children have been infected by polio in Somalia since July last year when the disease reappeared in the lawless nation, the United Nations announced.

It has appealed for an additional 11 million dollars (8.8 million euros) to fight the infection.

The United Nations children's agency UNICEF and the World Health Organisation warned that the disease, which has spread to the Somali region in southern Ethiopia, risks spreading further to neighbouring Kenya.

"A total of 202 polio virus cases have now been confirmed since the start of the outbreak in July 2005, 17 of those in 2006. Ethiopia has already been infected with the polio virus in its Somali Region, and Kenya is vulnerable to an importation of the polio virus," the agencies said in a statement.

"The ongoing polio epidemic in Somalia continues to threaten the health of children throughout that country and the Horn of Africa," the statement said.

Before resurfacing in Somalia last year, the disease was last reported in the Horn of Africa nation, home to about 10 million people, in October 2002.

Most of the country's health infrastructure is dilapidated as a result of the lawlessness that has wrecked the country's infrastructure since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

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