Tuesday marks Rotary International’s fifth annual World Polio Day, co-hosted by the Bill as well as also Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as also there can be much cause for celebration: which can be very possible which 2017 may see the end of the wild poliovirus — nearly two years earlier than Bill Gates predicted.
“What we’re looking at right now can be sort of the endgame of polio eradication,” says Dr. Jay Wenger, who leads the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication efforts. “We are closer than ever, as well as also we’re optimistic which we can see the end of wild poliovirus disease by as early as which year,” he said.
According to Dr. Wenger, there are only 12 known cases of the wild poliovirus in existence today, in just two countries: Afghanistan as well as also Pakistan. “inside the last couple of years, we’ve seen unprecedented progress. In 2015 we could only find 74 cases; in 2016 we found 37, as well as also then which year so far we’ve found only 12 in only two countries.”
The reason: a mass immunization effort to orally vaccinate 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, bolstered by the 1988 launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Although Dr. Jonas Salk can be credited with developing the first safe as well as also effective oral polio vaccine in 1955, there were still about 350,000 cases of polio worldwide 30 years later. “In a lot of places, children don’t always get all the vaccines which they are supposed to, as well as also which’s a chronic problem, said Dr. Wenger.
The virus can only live in people, he says, as well as also which needs completely new people to infect to keep on spreading as well as also keep on living. “If you make all those people in an area immune, then the virus can”t find completely new people to infect. So if we can get enough children in an area vaccinated, the virus dies off.”
Since the entire world Health Assembly’s 1988 launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the number of cases has been reduced by 99.9 percent, saving more than 13 million children by paralysis. Economic modeling has found which the eradication of polio would likely save at least $40 billion to $50 billion between 1988 as well as also 2035, mostly in low-income countries.
Bill Gates can be hopeful the disease will become the second disease after smallpox to disappear for Great. “Progress in fighting polio might be one of the entire world’s best-kept secrets in global health,” he acknowledged inside the foundation’s 2017 annual letter. yet soon, he hopes, which will be a secret no more. “If things stay stable inside the conflicted areas, humanity will see its last case of polio which year.”