Stamping Out Polio

Eliminating Last Traces of Disease Proves Difficult

A child receives oral polio vaccine in Angola.

A child receives oral polio vaccine in Angola. World Health Organization hide caption

itoggle caption World Health Organization

Polio, a once-dreaded scourge, is nearly gone. After a 15-year program to eradicate the disease worldwide, cases in children have dropped from 350,000 infections in 1988 to fewer than 700 cases in 2003.

Yet the endgame is proving difficult. A recent polio outbreak in Nigeria worried international health officials enough that they convened a meeting in Geneva to discuss whether it's really possible to rid the world of polio. NPR's Joanne Silberner reports.

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