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Two strains of polio disappear, but the end of the disease is still far



In another milestone along the long, expensive and sometimes discouraging path to eradicating polio, world health officials announced Wednesday that two of the three strains of wild polio virus have been officially eliminated.

Although approaching the world is another step toward eradication, the effort has taken much longer than expected. When the campaign began in 1988, most public health officials and donors were expecting the battle to end by 2000.

But two major obstacles emerged.

First, millions of families around the world have not dropped their children because of the constant false rumors that the vaccine is a Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslim girls or cause other harm.

Secondly, in some countries the viruses used in the oral vaccine itself have mutated into a form that can be transmitted in diapers and sewage. and can paralyze unvaccinated children. This contributed to the fear of the oral vaccine, although complete vaccination is the only protection against such mutant viruses.

In the last two months alone, cases of paralysis caused by mutant vaccines have been reported in the Philippines. , Zambia, Togo and Chad. Since paralysis occurs in only one in every 200 cases of polio, experts suggest that many more children are infected.

Stopping such outbreaks usually requires the vaccination of hundreds of thousands of children with both an injectable vaccine containing a dead virus that cannot mutate and an oral vaccine. The latter contains weakened viruses, which usually cannot cause disease, but provide better protection than killed viruses.

The strain declared by the Global Polio Virus Eradication Commission to be eliminated this week is Type 3 wild polio virus, the last case of which was observed in Nigeria in 2012. Type 2 was declared eliminated in 2015. ; the latter case was discovered in India in 1999.

Type 1, the only wild left strain, circulates only in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

(In the 1950s, the three strains had more evocative names: Brunhilde, Lansing, and Leon. The first was named after a laboratory chimpanzee, the second after the city of Michigan where it was isolated and the third a boy from Los Angeles, The nicknames later came in favor of .) [19659002] It takes tremendous effort to monitor for many years before the viral strain is declared extinct. Children can be paralyzed by several other viruses, bacterial brain infections, and injuries to the neck and spine.