Apr 15, 2009 | 3
Minnesota health officials are reporting an unusual death linked to a strain of polio once used in vaccines.
The Minnesota Department of Health said yesterday that a man, whom they did not identify, with symptoms of the paralyzing disease died last month. The officials said that he was infected with a strain of polio used in an oral, live-virus polio vaccine that was discontinued in the U.S. in 2000, suggesting that he caught the infection from someone who had received the live vaccine before it was pulled from the market. Polio vaccines used in the U.S. today are injected and contain only inactivated virus, though live-virus vaccines are still used in some developing countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Apr 3, 2009
The number of cases of polio last year climbed – and spread into countries where it was previously wiped out — despite an aggressive worldwide effort to eradicate the potentially paralyzing virus in the nations still battling it half a century after the introduction of the polio vaccine.
An estimated 350,000 cases of the disease occurred annually in 1988, when world leaders launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to eliminate the virus in the 125-plus countries where it still existed. By 2006, polio remained endemic to just four countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan – and by 2007, the number of reported cases was down to 1,315. But over the next year, infections rose by 26 percent, to 1,655 cases, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Jan 21, 2009 | 7
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and the British and German governments today pledged $630 million over the next five years to vaccine and other programs designed to wipe out polio.
"I am urging everyone to redouble their commitment and see the eradication effort to the end," Bill Gates said today during a teleconference with reporters. Gates said he's confident that polio will become the second viral disease that humankind eradicates (the first being smallpox in 1979), but he was loath to predict when that might happen.
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