Jakarta- Health workers in Indonesia confirmed 16 new cases of polio, including the first two cases in the capital, bringing the total number of cases of the crippling disease to 205, the U.N. health agency said Monday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 15 new cases in Banten province, just south of Jakarta, one case in Central Jakarta and one case in West Jakarta, heightening fears that it could lead to an outbreak in the sprawling city of some 10 million people.
"As it enters the capital city, Jakarta, we should increase the awareness for vaccination because that”s the only way to protect yourself from polio," WHO spokesperson Sari Setiogi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The nation”s first case of polio in a decade was detected in early May when an 18-month-old infant was diagnosed with the disease in the Giri Jaya village of Sukabumi district, about 100 kilometres south of Jakarta.
Indonesia, together with the WHO, launched a second-round of polio immunizations at the end of May targeting about 6.5 million children under five years of age. Two more rounds are scheduled for August 30 and September 27, targeting 24.3 million children
Indonesia has become the 16th formerly polio-free country to be reinfected in the past two years, according to the U.N. health agency. The country had not had a wild polio virus case reported since 1995.