Disease eradication entails the total stopping of the transmission of an infectious disease, reducing the prevalence of the disease to zero. To date, only one disease — smallpox — has been successfully eradicated. The next disease set for eradication is poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio.
Global efforts to eradicate the polio virus date back to 1988, when the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eradicate the disease globally by the year 2000 and launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Since then, polio eradication has enjoyed varying degrees of success from country to country. With 350,000 children affected and over 1,000 paralyzed daily, achieving the polio eradication resolution seemed like a tall order.
The first breakthrough was made six years later when the Americas were certified polio free. It took another six years for the western Pacific to be certified polio-free in 2000. And in 2002 the European region was also certified polio free. Since then it has been a herculean task for the remaining two regions of Africa and the eastern Mediterranean regions.
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