Countdown to Zero: Polio

On Exhibit posts

Polio vaccine must be kept cold to remain effective, a challenge when transporting the vaccine to remote regions of Pakistan. Polio is one of two human diseases—along with guinea worm—on the eradication track. By 2012, the campaign had reduced the disease to just a few hundred cases each year. But ongoing conflicts in endemic areas have slowed progress, and the disease has made a return in places that were previously polio-free. © UNICEF Pakistan/A. Zaidi

Polio vaccine must be kept cold to remain effective, a challenge when transporting the vaccine to remote regions of Pakistan. Polio is one of two human diseases—along with guinea worm—on the eradication track. By 2012, the campaign had reduced the disease to just a few hundred cases each year. But ongoing conflicts in endemic areas have slowed progress, and the disease has made a return in places that were previously polio-free.

© UNICEF Pakistan/A. Zaidi


Disease agent: The poliovirus

The threat: Polio infections fell by more than 99 percent from 1988 to 2013 

How infection spreads: From person-to-person contact or through contaminated food or water.

Defeating the disease: Two vaccines—the Oral Polio Vaccine and Inactivated Polio Vaccine—have been in use for over 50 years, helping bring the number of cases world wide to all-time low in 2012.

Eradication potential: Eradication is possible, but only if vaccination programs are not compromised by regional instability or opposition to vaccines.

What does it take to wipe out a disease? Find out in the new exhibition Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease,  which opens on Tuesday, January 13.

The full story appears in the Winter issue of Rotunda, the Member magazine.