Bill Gates: Polio will be eradicated this year, the endgame is near
Tuesday marks Rotary International’s fifth annual World Polio Day, co-hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and there is much cause for celebration: It is very possible that 2017 may see the end of the wild poliovirus — nearly two years earlier than Bill Gates predicted.
“What we’re looking at now is sort of the endgame of polio eradication,” says Dr. Jay Wenger, who leads the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication efforts. “We are closer than ever, and we’re optimistic that we can see the end of wild poliovirus disease by as early as this year,” he said.
According to Dr. Wenger, there are only 12 known cases of the wild poliovirus in existence today, in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen unprecedented progress. In 2015 we could only find 74 cases; in 2016 we found 37, and then this year so far we’ve found only 12 in only two countries.”
Photo courtesy of PolioPlus Pakistan.
- Health Care