UN undertakes polio vaccination campaign in Iraq

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — The United Nations says it is undertaking a mass polio vaccination campaign in Iraq, hoping to reach millions of children.

Jeffery Bates of the U.N.'s child agency, UNICEF, says it is trying to reach 4 million children under 5 throughout Iraq. The campaign was launched after two cases of polio were discovered in Baghdad earlier this year.

Bates says the polio case in Iraq likely crossed over from Syria, where the country's civil war has disrupted its health care system and some children have not been immunized against the highly contagious virus that can paralyze or kill.

Bates says the U.N. is struggling to reach children in territory held by militants of the Islamic State group, which have seized large swaths of Iraq, including its second-largest city of Mosul.

©2016 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.