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Polio Eradication Possible With Sustained Immunization, Surveillance Efforts

Washington Post: We’re closer than ever to eradicating polio — and yet there’s Syria
Editorial Board

“…The numbers [of polio cases] are so low today that eradication may indeed be within reach, if there is not another setback in the remaining endemic countries. For this, immunization and surveillance must be sustained. … The one dark spot is Syria, where a fresh outbreak has paralyzed 17 children … This is the second polio outbreak of the war. It was caused by a weakened form of the virus from the polio vaccine itself, which in rare cases mutates and becomes virulent against the unvaccinated, spreading through contaminated sewage or water. The real culprit is the upheaval of war. Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine and a fair amount of experience in extinguishing such an outbreak, and with enough effort and immunization, it can be contained. The moonshot may yet succeed” (6/25).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.