Vigilance, Continued Efforts Required To Reach Polio Eradication, Opinion Piece Says
The Conversation: Complacency could delay the final push to eradicate polio
Villyen Motaze, epidemiologist and PhD fellow, and Melinda Suchard, head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology, both at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases
“…Reported cases of wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99% from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 33 in 2018. … Today it’s easy to forget how common this disease once was and how it changed and ended lives. The danger in this is that complacency sets in and the strategies that were successful in fighting the disease — such as vaccination — are no longer followed. … [A]ny breakdown in control efforts will undermine all achievements over the previous decades by leaving open the chance that a small number of cases becomes a large number again. This catastrophic scenario should be avoided. … To achieve polio eradication, all countries must reinforce disease surveillance and strengthen their immunization programs. The vaccines used for polio control are safe and effective but no less than 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated…” (12/4).