Achieving a polio free world
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N.Wolfe Street / E5543, Baltimore 21205, Maryland, USA
BMC Medicine 2014, 12:116 doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0116-3Published: 3 July 2014
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the spread of polio is an international public health emergency, and a coordinated international response is sought. Although the importance of such a response is recognized, there are challenges to stopping the spread of polio and achieving a polio free world. The most important issue is directing limited national resources to the specific areas where polio is endemic. In an article published in BMC Medicine, Upfill-Brown and his colleagues recognized this problem and successfully identified the potential risk areas in Nigeria using a validated spatial predictive model of wild poliovirus circulation. They also showed that a lower vaccine-derived population immunity is associated with the probability of a higher number of wild poliovirus cases within a district. Identification of the potential risk areas and understanding the magnitude of risk may help direct limited resources of the endemic countries to areas most at risk to maximize the impact of interventions and motivate the people to participate in the intervention program. These efforts are crucial if these endemic countries hope to eradicate polio.