In DepthInfectious Diseases

Polio eradicators struggle to prevent the next outbreak

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Science  13 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6189, pp. 1212-1213
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1212

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Somalia, Syria, Cameroon—those are just some of the countries where polio re-emerged suddenly last year, paralyzing children and jeopardizing the plan to wipe polio off the face of the earth. In 2012, success seemed imminent, with global polio cases falling to an all-time low of 223. But in 2013, the virus jumped borders and set off outbreaks in eight countries that had already eliminated it, sending cases soaring to 407. Now, by creating a "Red List," the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is trying to predict where future outbreaks will occur—and prevent them.