Monday, November 7, 2011

Why polio is sticking around

Despite many years of eradication efforts, the world is still not free of polio. So far in 2011 there have been fewer than 500 cases worldwide, but getting rid of those last (comparatively) few cases has been eluding health officials for years. The four main polio holdouts, where the disease is endemic, are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and India. Overcrowding, conflict, natural disasters and political will are cited as roadblocks on the path to complete eradication.

While there have been fewer cases this year than last, polio has also reemerged in countries where it had been thought to be eradicated, like China and Kenya. One critic of polio eradication said in the article that spending so many billions on eradication efforts is a waste of money, and we should instead be putting that money toward something that affects more people, like malaria or malnutrition.

--Sarah Kaewert

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