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Authorities rush to protect Syrian children from polio amid tensions in refugee camps

By Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC NewsJordanian authorities are issuing massive immunizations against polio, measles and rubella in the Za’atari camp, where more than 120,000 Syrians have landed after being driven out of war-torn Syria.Authorities worry about an outbreak of polio in eastern Syria, which already has paralyzed at least 10 young children.  Contrary to some reports, Jordan has not close
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By Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News

Jordanian authorities are issuing massive immunizations against polio, measles and rubella in the Za’atari camp, where more than 120,000 Syrians have landed after being driven out of war-torn Syria.

Authorities worry about an outbreak of polio in eastern Syria, which already has paralyzed at least 10 young children.  Contrary to some reports, Jordan has not closed its borders but is rather taking in about 400 refugees daily. The military is inoculating any child who crosses the border, regardless of medical history. At least 19,000 Syrian children have been inoculated to prevent a polio outbreak in the refugee camps.

Za’atari, the largest of the refugee camps, contains mainly refugees who were driven out of southern Syria, crossing the border just east of Golan Heights. The population has grown from 30,000 to 120,000 refugees in just one year.  

The camps now include three schools: Saudi, American and Bahraini. One year ago there were three rudimentary clinics, but now there is a hospital and a women's clinic.

Security around the camps is still very tight, however, and the Jordanian military has several checkpoints. But there's been some kind of uprising within the camp itself and the Syrians were holding two Jordanian police officers. We were escorted out of the camp as Jordanian police were heading in. Saturday my crew and I interviewed UNICEF in Amman, Jordan about the efforts to contain the polio outbreak. 

Follow chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman's reports from Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp on NBC Nightly News and TODAY and on Twitter at @DrNancyNBCNews

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