Nigerian Leader Vouches for Polio Vaccine
March 18, 2004
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told reporters Wednesday that independent test results "categorically attest to the safety of the oral polio vaccine and clears it of contamination by HIV, cancerous agents and anti-fertility agents." The results of the tests, which were carried out in South Africa, India and Indonesia, were consistent with those of similar tests conducted earlier in Nigeria. Many Muslims in northern Nigeria had boycotted polio vaccination campaigns because radical Islamic leaders said the vaccines were tainted with HIV, cancer-causing agents and sterilizing chemicals in an alleged U.S. plot to decimate Muslim populations. A 16-year, $3 billion global campaign has reduced polio cases from 350,000 in 1988 to fewer than 1,000 in 2003. The boycott is blamed for polio's recent spread from northern Nigeria to eight other African nations where the disease had previously been eliminated.
03.17.04; Gilbert Da Costa
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.