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Virus Res. 1999 Aug;62(2):185-92.

Poliomyelitis eradication.

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  • 1The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Decatur, GA 30030, USA.


Since the poliomyelitis eradication program began in 1988, the number of poliovirus infected continents and countries have decreased from five to two and from greater than 100 to 53, respectively. A nearly 90% reduction in the incidence of polio has been achieved with a corresponding decrease in virus genomic heterogeneity. Major challenges to eradication remain in south Asia and Africa in those areas with hot and humid climates, high population density, and high birth rates. Of particular concern are countries with ongoing social unrest and poor health infrastructure. With the approaching eradication of polio, post-eradication issues are now being addressed. The World Health Organization (WHO) draft plan for containment of wild polioviruses has been published for comment. Commissions and committees for certification of eradication have been established. Still under discussion is the question of the appropriate strategy for stopping oral polio vaccine (OPV) immunization. Studies are underway to determine whether vaccine-derived polioviruses will continue to circulate after OPV cessation and the potential disease consequences of that circulation.

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