Hunting Down the Last of the Poliovirus

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Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 168
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.168

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GENEVA-- While WHO's headquarters is preoccupied with the coming vote for a new director-general (see main text), initiatives such as the Polio Eradication Program show that WHO's foot soldiers can make a huge difference to the majority of the world's population without adequate health care. Since 1988, when the World Health Assembly declared its aim to eradicate polio globally by 2000, the number of cases has been slashed by 90%, from an estimated 350,000 cases to about 35,000 today. But with just 3 years of the initiative left to run, the job will get increasingly tough as health workers track down remaining pockets of the virus in some of the most remote, poor, and war-torn corners of the globe. They are confident, nonetheless, that they will succeed.