The clock is running out on
poliomyelitis. The international campaign to eradicate polio by the
year 2000 is entering its final phase. American medicine and public
health can play an important role in achieving this global objective:
to rid the planet of a historic scourge.
The success of the campaign during the past decade has diminished our
awareness of this age-old plague. Few US physicians have managed a case
of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) on an iron lung. The last case of
naturally occurring polio in the United States (excluding cases
introduced from abroad) occurred in 1979. The Western Hemisphere was
certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as polio free in 1994,
and no case of polio has been reported in this region since 1991. In
the WHO's Western Pacific Region, which includes China, Vietnam,
Cambodia, and 33 other countries, no cases have been reported for
nearly 2 years, and certification of polio eradication is expected by
the year 2000.
Satcher D. Polio Eradication by the Year 2000. JAMA. 1999;281(3):221. doi:10.1001/jama.281.3.221
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