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October 20, 1993

Eradication of Polio in the Americas

Author Affiliations

From the International Commission for Certification of Eradication of Polio in the Americas of the Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

JAMA. 1993;270(15):1857-1859. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510150091036

THERE IS good reason to believe that we are on the threshold of eradicating poliomyelitis from the Americas. There has not been a case of paralysis due to wild poliovirus identified in the Western Hemisphere for well over a year, the last identified case being in Peru in September 1991. However, many countries have been free of poliovirus for much longer. Since 1979 the United States has had no cases, except for the rare ones due to the live vaccine and an occasional imported case. The southern cone countries (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay) have had no cases for 4 years or more, and the Caribbean islands and Costa Rica have equally good records.

For editorial comment see p 1859.

This most gratifying situation is the result of the decision in 1985 of the Pan American Health Organization to mount a campaign to eradicate polio. The success of the campaign