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Examining Need To Stop New Outbreaks In Polio-Free Countries

In a post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Hamid Jafari, director of global polio eradication and research at the WHO, reflects on global polio eradication efforts, noting “[a]n editorial in the Washington Post on Monday and a recent NPR piece both draw attention to one of the major challenges we anticipate during this final push: outbreaks in polio-free countries.” He writes, “The best way to stop such outbreaks is by interrupting polio transmission in the remaining endemic countries. Meanwhile, investing in strong immunization programs in known high-risk areas can and does prevent outbreaks in the first place.” He concludes, “We know that challenges will arise on the road to polio eradication. So long as the world stays fully committed to traveling down that road, I know we’ll be successful” (7/30).