When word spread yesterday that Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their little bundle of global-savior joy, Shiloh Nouvel, might soon be returning from Namibia to our local shores, we didn't spend much time asking why. There was far too much hosanna singing and "Welcome Home, Chosen One" giant-banner preparation to attend to for us to waste what precious time we had left wondering what might be hastening the trinity's return from their African love paradise. Not for the NY Times, however, who report that the "mystery disease" that popped up around the time of the birth and killed three is no longer a mystery: it's polio. And it's a full-fledged outbreak.
The fast-moving outbreak has killed 7 Namibians and paralyzed 33 more, and panicked citizens have deluged hospitals seeking immunization against polio. But there was very little vaccine in the country — only enough for routine vaccination of infants — so supplies quickly ran out and people were turned away. [...]
Namibia, a desert country of 2 million people on Africa's southwest coast, is rarely in the news, but it has seen intense coverage in gossip columns recently because Angelina Jolie gave birth there on May 27 to her daughter with Brad Pitt.
It was not clear yesterday whether Namibia's most famous newborn, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, had been vaccinated against polio. The vaccine is not normally given until a child is two months old, but immunizations at birth are being done experimentally in parts of India where the disease is endemic, Dr. Heymann said.
We have no doubt the child's storied healing abilities ensure immunity for herself and her family, though their decision to high-tail it to a polio-free Malibu doesn't sound like the worst idea at the moment. Scribes of the New New Testament, meanwhile, are watching events closely, trying to figure out how so much preventable death and suffering could possibly accompany the arrival of the Chosen One.