Polio might not have been seen in Britain since the 198's, but despite worldwide efforts the potentially fatal disease is still endemic in three countries. Kate Lamble caught up with the Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health, Professor David Sailsbury as he visited St Johns college in Cambridge to speak about the global effort to eradicate the disease.
One should point out that since 2011, there have been less than 1000 cases a year, and the number of countries listed as "endemic" is decreasing every year. This is compared to 35,000 reported, and estimated 350,000 cases in 1988. There are a few countries listed as "importation" including a large outbreak (185 cases) in Somalia last year.
Should we try to eradicate a single disease at a time, or go after several?
$5.5 Billion to prevent 1000 annual cases of Polio is a lot of money. However, if the vaccination campaign was to stop, no doubt there would be a resurgence of the disease, and perhaps also hit unvaccinated adults in countries that had previously eradicated the disease.