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polio

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Poliomyelitus is a well-known crippling neuromuscular disease known to exist for thousands of years, since ancient cultures like Egypt. Early historians describe polio as a fever, or a debilitating disease of the extremities, particularly common to children. Isolated cases have existed for centuries, but more devastating breakouts of the disease began in 19th century Europe, followed by migration to the U.S. where thousands of cases were also documented. Brooklyn, New York alone experienced a polio death tally of over 2,000 in 1916. Polio was not recognized as a contagious viral disease until the early 1900s, and outbreaks continued until the first vaccines were developed in the 50s and 60s. Because of polio’s prevalence, Western society made child vaccinations routine procedure in the 70s. The World Health Assembly resolved to globally eradicate the disease by 2000, and achieved a measure of success since the last case of wild polio was reported in 1998, but a small resurgence occurred in the 2000’s after concern over polio vaccine safety and subsequent non-vaccinations. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (2014), only 416 cases existed worldwide in 2013 with 82 new ones in 2014, showing its marked decline in prevalence. The U.S. currently enjoys the result of a successful polio vaccine campaign, and according to the CDC (2014) has been “polio free since 1979.” The last targets for polio eradication are primarily in the African and Middle Eastern areas of the world, and the success of these campaigns are essential in preventing a major polio reappearance given its ease of transmission.
Poliovirus belongs to the family Picornaviridae and genus Enterovirus (Mahon, Lehman, & Manuselis, 2011). Picornaviruses have be...

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