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CDC: Progress, challenges continue in fighting polio in Pakistan, Afghanistan

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Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013 12:00 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saw an overall decrease in wild poliovirus cases from January–September 2013 compared with the same time period in 2012, according to data published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 2012, transmission of indigenous WPV has been limited to three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Results for Nigeria will be released in December.

“Although there have been setbacks, we are making progress towards global polio eradication,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release. “There is encouraging progress in Afghanistan, but, as long as transmission is uninterrupted in Pakistan and Nigeria, the risk for spread to other countries continues because polio anywhere presents a threat of polio everywhere."

Both countries still face significant challenges in reaching unvaccinated children. Afghanistan is fighting a polio outbreak in the Eastern Region while Pakistan continues to see polio increases in the conflict-affected Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where there is a ban on polio vaccination, and in security-compromised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The potential risk of transmission to other countries highlights the need for strong ongoing global efforts to eradicate this disease.

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