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Can We Stop Wild Polio Outbreaks

August 15, 2023 • 12:38 pm CDT
GPEI / WHO polio case map August 8, 2023
(Precision Vaccinations News)

Wiping out wild poliovirus, of which there are three strains, has been the goal of global eradication efforts since they began in 1988, wrote Clare Watson in an article today published by the journal Nature.

While types 2 and 3 were successfully eradicated in 1999 and 2020, respectively, type 1 continues circulating in Afghanistan and Pakistan 12 years after India quashed all forms of the wild virus and three years after Africa did the same.

An analysis of polio transmission dynamics published in 2020 found that global polio eradication efforts were “not on track to succeed” in achieving their goal of eliminating wild poliovirus type 1 by 2023.

Fears that eradication was falling out of reach increased again in 2021 when wild poliovirus broke containment lines and emerged in eastern Africa.

As recently as February 2023, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested eradication of the virus had been “unsuccessful.”

However, polio cases are down in 2023.

Pakistan has reported just two wild polio cases in 2023, and Afghanistan has reported five.

In 2022, they recorded 22 cases combined. 

The full article, published on August 15, 2023, is available at this link.

In the U.S., poliovirus wastewater testing continues in 2023 following detections in New York in 2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend travelers to polio-endemic areas be fully vaccinated before departure. Polio vaccines are available in most pharmacies in the U.S.

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