Despite a worldwide vaccine program, polio is showing signs of resurgence. The problems? Incomplete vaccine use and availability–partially driven by misinformation and rumor mongering– lack of information, and a poor distribution system.
Polio was spreading across Africa, even after he gave $700 million to try to wipe out the disease.
That outbreak raged last summer, and this week a new outbreak hit Tajikistan, which hadn’t seen polio for 19 years.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat the last 12 months,” Bruce Aylward, a WHO official, told Mr. Gates in the meeting in the underground pandemic center last June. He described how the virus was rippling through countries believed to have stopped the disease.
Part of the problem is misinformation:
Men like the sultan are important allies. In 2003, Islamic leaders in northern Nigeria spread rumors that polio vaccines sterilized Muslim girls. Leaders halted vaccinations, allowing the virus to spread. The WHO said the virus eventually infected 20 countries.
Medicynical Note: For more information, you should read the full article.
This should be a warning to those in our country who deny the benefits of vaccines and refuse to allow their kids this protection. It seems redundant to remind people of the seriousness of this disease which causes permanent neurological disability, for which there is no cure.
The article also approaches the dilemma of whether to target single diseases (following the model of the successful smallpox vaccination program of the 60’s) or include vaccination in a broader based approach to health and hygiene. From a medicynical point of view, I would point out that one of these goals might be achievable in our lifetimes, the other not.