Stamping Out Polio Polio -- a once-dreaded scourge -- is nearly gone. Cases are down from hundreds of thousands a year in the 1980s to fewer than 700 last year. But, as NPR's Joanne Silberner reports, the endgame is proving difficult. The audio for this segment contains an error. It should have said that Nigeria's national government is led by Christians, but Christians do not make up a majority of the population. Various estimates indicate the country is 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian, 10 percent indigenous.
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Stamping Out Polio

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Stamping Out Polio

Stamping Out Polio

Eliminating Last Traces of Disease Proves Difficult

Stamping Out Polio

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

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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.