In 2012, there were only 223 cases of polio in the world, as compared to 350,000 in 1988. An excellent, thoroughly reported new article in Wired, by the Kabul-based Matthieu Aikins, explores what it will take to completely eradicate the disease — and it will take a lot:
The global campaign, decades in the making, has come down to this: an all-out, very expensive effort to eliminate the last few problem areas in some of the most troubled and undeveloped parts of the final three countries where polio is endemic: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. It is one of the most expensive and ambitious global health initiatives today, and it is tantalizingly close to victory. There are now just a few hundred cases of paralysis per year worldwide, down from roughly 350,000 when the campaign started in 1988. But going the final inch will require more than just good science and vast amounts of money—it will require a tremendous force of collective will.