Polio's Last Stand

December 14, 2014

Eradicating the Last 1% of Polio Is Deadly But Essential

When 40-year-old Liberian civil servant Patrick Sawyer died of Ebola earlier this year in hospital in Lagos, having carried the disease from his home country to Nigeria, global health workers feared the epidemic would spread in West Africa’s most populous city. But no one paid much attention to the victim of another epidemic further north. One day before Sawyer’s death, on 24 July, the worried parents of a 16-month-old toddler in Kano state had discovered their child was suffering from the symptoms of a disease had supposedly been largely wiped out of existence – poliomyelitis.

Although the two viruses are very different, the efforts to tackle polio and Ebola have been intricately connected, largely through the efforts of the 30 year, multi-billion dollar, global polio eradication campaign that stands on the brink of wiping out polio – but that brink… [more]

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