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Listen to News ~ dateline: 22 October 2013

Weekly Audio News for ESL Learners

Polio Outbreak Feared In Syria

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • outbreak: a sudden outburst of something
  • infectious: something that can be passed on easily from one person to another
  • sanitation: cleanliness related to pubic health
  • communicable disease: an illness that can be passed on via body contact
  • vaccination: an injection of a weakened bacteria or virus that protects a person from getting the full-blown illness

Polio Outbreak Feared In Syria

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported about a possible polio outbreak in war-torn Syria. Polio is an infectious that typically targets young children. It affects the nerves and often causes paralysis. of suspected polio have been detected for the first time in almost fifteen years in Syria. Many of Syria’s health care providers have fled, and the immunization program in Syria is failing. Overcrowded regions and poor sanitation make it very difficult to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Polio is known as a , because it typically spreads before any muscle paralysis is detected. Neighbouring countries are also on alert, and anyone who is planning on travelling near Syria is have a polio vaccination.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is polio?
  2. Why is polio often called a silent killer?
  3. Why might this report be considered a travel alert?

Discussion Question: A director from WHO referred to the “duck test” in a response about this possible outbreak. Why would he use this expression, and what do you think he meant by it? (The duck test expression goes as follows: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”)

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Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub.com
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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