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A health worker gives the oral polio vaccine to a child in Karachi, Pakistan. Fareed Khan/AP hide caption

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Fareed Khan/AP

Ghost Viruses And The Taliban Stand In The Way Of Wiping Out Polio

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This did not really happen. Cows' heads did not emerge from the bodies of people newly inoculated against smallpox. But fear of the vaccine was so widespread that it prompted British satirist James Gillray to create this spoof in 1802. Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University hide caption

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Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

Poliovirus, long a scourge, has been modified by Duke University researchers for experimental use as a brain cancer treatment. Juan Gaertner/Science Source hide caption

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Juan Gaertner/Science Source

A Pakistani health worker administers the oral polio vaccine to a child during a campaign in Karachi on May 7. Because of past attacks on vaccinators, security personnel are often assigned to accompany them. Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images

Why It's So Hard To Wipe Out Polio In Pakistan

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A Pakistani policeman guards a team of polio vaccinators during an immunization drive in Karachi on January 22. Officials have stepped up protection in the wake of the January 18 attack. Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images

Nurses give the oral polio vaccine to a Syrian child in a refugee camp in Turkey. The oral polio vaccine used throughout most of the developing world contains a form of the virus that has been weakened in the laboratory. But it's still a live virus. Carsten Koall/Getty Images hide caption

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Carsten Koall/Getty Images