Saturday, March 5, 2011

ABC News video on polio eradication (another dedication to Yu-Jin)

I found this video and thought that it highlighted many of the issues we have been discussing with regards to polio eradication and its challenges. I always find it interesting to evaluate popular news stories and I would love to hear what you guys think:

Some of the things that I noted were:
•Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is being used. The simplicity with which it is administered is demonstrated by the news reporter when he vaccinates a child at the end of the video and when the community health workers go everywhere (schools, houses, streets) to vaccinate kids. This reminded me of our Salk vs. Sabin debate and the pros and cons to live-attenuated vs. inactivated vaccines depending on their context. Also, the need to respond to a new case with mass vaccination of the area was shown in the case of the little baby.

•Challenges to vaccination/eradication mentioned include: war and political strife (Pakistan), keeping the vaccine cold (India), new outbreaks in regions that were "polio-free" (DRC, Angola, Uganda), subclinical infections, and presence of polio "lurking" in the environment.

•There was a lovely shout-out to D.A. Henderson, smallpox eradicator, and mention of skeptics of polio eradication that do not see it as possible, which we have been discussing a lot in class.

•Toward the end of the video, the global threat of polio was noted. They said that polio is only "a plane flight away". This reminded me of our discussions of subclinical polio and how outbreaks could re-emerge in "polio-free" regions that do not vaccinate against polio. It also reminded me of how closely international travel links different geographical regions together. I thought it was an interesting way to make polio seem more relevant to the U.S. rather than something that is unrelated to us since we have been polio-free for decades.

Anyhow, if you get a chance to watch it, let me know what you think :).


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