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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
In Scientific American, Ciro de Quadros discusses the victories and challenges in eradicating polio.
When I began my career in public health in the 1960s, poliomyelitis was one of the most feared diseases in the world. Even just 25 years ago the virus infected more than 350,000 people, causing paralysis and irreversible disfigurement.
Thanks to vaccines and a tremendous international effort, today that number is down to just a few hundred cases globally. Still, for every person who shows the characteristic signs and symptoms of polio, 100 or more individuals carry the virus and can spread the disease without their knowledge. And the areas where polio remains are among the most remote and unstable corners of the planet. The road before us isn't easy, but we cannot rest until polio is truly and completely wiped out for good.