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Lancet. 1994 May 28;343(8909):1331-7.

Paralytic poliomyelitis: seasoned strategies, disappearing disease.

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Expanded Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


With more than 2 years having elapsed since the last case of paralytic poliomyelitis occurred in the Western Hemisphere, significant progress has been made towards the global eradication of wild polioviruses. Poliomyelitis is disappearing from Europe, North Africa, Southern Africa, the Middle East, China, and the Pacific. Reported poliomyelitis cases declined to 15,587 cases in 1992. Current eradication strategies recommended by the World Health Organization include national mass campaigns administering oral poliovaccine to all children under 5 years of age, enhanced surveillance to detect cases of acute flaccid paralysis, creating a network of laboratories for viral diagnosis, and targeted immunisation to areas and populations where poliovirus transmission is likely to persist. The major obstacles to eradication include inadequate political support for eradication and insufficient funding, especially for the purchase of vaccine. With additional support for the international eradication effort, epidemics of poliomyelitis will cease in developing countries, and industrialised countries will be able to save the large sums spent each year on poliovaccine and rehabilitation.

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