A tragic error showed how complicated it can be to distribute vaccines on a mass scale.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s personal battle with polio, and his steady hand while overseeing a national eradication campaign, highlights decisive leadership against a virus that terrified America.
Polio was nearly eradicated with the Salk vaccine in 1955. At the time, little was known about this mysterious disease that paralyzed and sometimes killed young children.
A challenge in eradicating polio comes from a version of the vaccine itself, which relies on live but attenuated virus. Rationally designing a new vaccine could help get rid of polio once and for all.
Polio can be circulating through a community long before anyone is paralyzed. Monitoring sewage for the virus lets public health officials short-circuit this 'silent transmission.'
Pakistan had only eight new diagnoses of polio in 2017. The virus' days look numbered – but health workers have their work cut out for them to eradicate the devastating disease once and for all.