Jonas Salk - Discovering A Vaccine - Worldwide Eradication Successes

Worldwide Eradication Successes

By the end of 1990 it was estimated that 500,000 annual cases worldwide of paralysis as result of polio had been prevented due to immunization programs carried out by WHO, UNICEF, and many other organizations. In developing countries, estimates ran as high as 350,000 cases each year in 1988. As a result, in 2002, more than 500 million children were immunized in 93 countries, and by December 2002, there were only 1,924 cases worldwide, with 1,599 of them in India. However, there were still six other countries where polio is suspected of being endemic: Afghanistan, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia. In 1991 transmission of polio was declared as "interrupted" in the Western hemisphere.


In 1993, China initiated a national immunization program with over 80 million children getting vaccinated in just 2 days; by the following year the country reported only 5 cases of polio.


In 2003, after an outbreak in Nigeria, international organizations spent $10 million to vaccinate 15 million children in Nigeria and neighboring countries.

Latin America

During the 1970s, Latin America had an estimated 15,000 paralysis cases with about 1,750 deaths each year from polio. By 1991, the last case of polio was reported in Latin America and the Caribbean, and polio has now been declared as fully eliminated from the region.

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