Luis Fermin Tenorio, the last polio case in the Western hemisphere
The goal to eradicate polio by the end of 2000 remains elusive, and the amount of time left in this month won't change that. On Sept. 27, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, UNICEF, and various private donors announced at the Polio Partners Summit held at the United Nations that they are joining forces to intensify the eradication campaign, with a new deadline of 2005.

Worldwide eradication efforts may be stymied, however, by Mother Nature. Recent reports indicate that not only is wild poliovirus still around, but that vaccine strains can mutate into potentially infectious forms. "The existence of virulent strains in the environment means that individuals are excreting these strains from their guts. But as long as immunization coverage is well maintained, oral polio vaccine or inactive polio vaccine is...

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