Rotary International's 20-year campaignto eliminate polio worldwidemay be near its end. So far, in 2005only slightly >500 cases have beenreported, compared with 350,000 casesin 1988. With >$600 million raised,vaccination campaigns are provingsuccessful, according to Hamid Jafari,MD, director of the Global ImmunizationDivision at the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention. During ameeting of the 100th anniversary ofthe Rotary organization, he reportedthat Asian countries are on schedulefor ending transmission of the diseasethis year. Africa is also turning a cornerafter a series of immunization campaignsin 23 countries in the fall of2004 and the spring of 2005.
There are countries that are still aconcern, however. Lee Jong-wook,MD, director general of the WorldHealth Organization, said cases importedfrom Nigeria, which stoppedvaccinations for about a year, "remindus that we must continue to protectthe children" and get the support ofgovernments to endorse antipolioefforts. Dr. Lee said an additional $50million is needed to fund campaignsthrough 2005, and $200 million isneeded for 2006.