Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Eradication of Polio Threatened by Global Instability. (WHO News)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Eradication of Polio Threatened by Global Instability. (WHO News)

Article excerpt

Only 537 cases of poliomyelitis were reported globally in 2001 (data as of 11 April 2002). In 1988, when the polio eradication effort began, the disease was paralysing about 1000 children every day. Global eradication of polio is within reach, but success is by no means inevitable. Stopping transmission of the virus means vaccinating every under-five-year-old who could be exposed to it. The three zones with the highest poliovirus transmission are northern India, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Nigeria/Niger.

The Technical Consultative Group (TCG) for global polio eradication, which completed its annual review of the programme on 12 April, warned that the campaign could become a casualty of recent global events. In Afghanistan, for example, the polio surveillance system has suffered badly during the last few months. The 10 remaining endemic countries, in order of highest to lowest transmission, are Afghanistan, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan.

The last vestiges of polio must be extinguished now. Any delay will jeopardize the success of the entire effort, the TGC concluded. …

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