Friday, March 2, 2007


Experts Weigh Giving Up on Killing Polio

‘Nearly 20 years ago, the World Health Organization and its partners launched an ambitious program to eradicate polio by the end of the millennium. That deadline passed and another was missed in 2005 and polio still strikes about 2,000 people a year, mostly children.

At a WHO meeting this week, some leading experts asked a grim question: Is it time to abandon the goal of eradication and focus instead on containing the disease? The answer, for most, was no even though many had doubts.

“Many people wonder why we are spending all this time and effort on polio when there are much bigger problems,” said Dr. Donald A. Henderson, who headed WHO’s smallpox eradication program in the 1970s. Smallpox is the only disease ever to have been eradicated.’

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