In a “historic achievement for humanity”, two of three wild poliovirus strains have been eliminated worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday, following the conclusion by a group of experts that WPV3, type three of the disease, has been eradicated completely.
The deadly viral disease is “very close” to disappearing altogether, with the number of affected children having dropped by 99 per cent since 1988, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on World Polio Day, marked each 24 October, positioning the world closer than ever to its total eradication.
The number of recorded cases has fallen from 350,000 in 1988, to less than 40 today, and from a presence in 125 countries, to just two.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two remaining countries with reported cases, with Nigeria, a third polio-endemic country, having gone three years without a reported infection, placing it on track to be certified polio-free by 2020.
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