Friday, May 09, 2014

HEALTH - The Resurgence of Polio

IMHO the use of "eradicate" in the context of a virus caused disease is very misleading.  You cannot eradicate a virus, what we have done with the polio vaccine is to buildup the human immune system to fight off the virus that causes polio, but it is still out there.

"Persistence is key to wiping out polio outbreaks in fragile nations" PBS NewsHour 5/6/2014


GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Public health officials around the world are sounding the alarm this week about the return of polio.  It’s a big shift from just two years ago, when some experts thought they were on the verge of eradicating the disease.

Jeffrey Brown has the story.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The World Health Organization calls it an extraordinary event that threatens the decades-long battle to wipe out polio.

On Monday, the agency declared an international public health emergency.

Bruce Aylward is leading the WHO polio effort.  He spoke during a teleconference from Geneva.

BRUCE AYLWARD, World Health Organization:  While the virus has resurged, I think it reminds us that, until it’s eradicated, it is going to spread internationally and it’s going to find and paralyze susceptible kids.  Indeed, it could become endemic again in the entire world if we do not complete the eradication of this disease.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Worldwide, there have been 74 confirmed cases of polio this year, three times as many as the same period in 2013.  They’re focused in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  In all, the outbreak has spread across at least 10 countries.  The WHO singles out Syria, Cameroon and Pakistan as the main sources of the disease.  Of those three, the vast majority of cases have been in Pakistan.

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