Polio Lockdown Imminent—Barring Any Accidental Leaks

Since the WHO’s 1988 resolution to eradicate polio, cases have dropped by 99% with only 6 known cases this year in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But total containment means addressing where the virus still exists, perhaps clandestinely buried in lab freezers—just one inadvertent mishap away from a devastating outbreak.

To uncover polio samples, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative maintains a reference chart. If samples are found, labs can destroy them or file to become a “poliovirus-essential” facility—an understandably arduous undertaking.

“2019: the year of containment. You heard it here first,” says Anna Llewellyn, the CDC’s Global Poliovirus Containment Officer.


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