Poliomyelitis: residual hurdles to global eradication
Paola Stefanelli, Gabriele Buttinelli, Giovanni Rezza
The global eradication of polio is close to achieving success. However, transmission of wild poliovirus persists in countries where the disease is endemic, and outbreaks may also occur in previously polio-free countries where population immunity is not maintained. To achieve polio eradication, several key actions are required: (1) to detect any poliovirus transmission, (2) to strengthen immunization systems and withdraw all oral polio vaccines from use, (3) to contain polioviruses and certify interruption of transmission, and (4) to sustain ongoing public health programs. In this context, residual hurdles to global polio eradication have been identified, from unstable political situation in affected countries to population movements from and to endemic areas, and opposition to immunization strategies. Global efforts are needed in order to promote routine immunization campaigns and large-scale vaccination rounds, which may provide direct protection of individuals and minimize virus circulation.