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The World in Medicine
February 18, 2004

Polio Eradication Plan

JAMA. 2004;291(7):813. doi:10.1001/jama.291.7.813-d

Health ministers from the six remaining polio-endemic countries—Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan—agreed last month to a series of massive immunization campaigns in 2004 to immunize 250 million children.

The goal, they said, is to make polio the first disease of the 21st century to be eradicated. Data presented from the six countries indicate that poliovirus is confined to only a few reservoirs, providing an unprecedented opportunity for global eradication. But challenges remain, particularly in Nigeria, currently regarded as the greatest risk to polio eradication efforts. Immunization activities there were stalled in late 2003 because of unfounded rumors that the vaccine was not safe.