Polio Making Rapid Comeback, Poses Epidemic Risk, Scientists Say

Amitabh Avasthi
for National Geographic News
September 12, 2006

Part two of a three-part series on the resurgence of killer diseases once thought wiped out

Outbreaks of polio in India and Nigeria are rapidly spreading, and experts warn that new infections could turn into an epidemic of international scale.

India's outbreak started in mid-2006 in Moradabad, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh near the border with Nepal (see India map).

"The [outbreak] … has now spread throughout Uttar Pradesh state and into other nearby states," said Jay Wenger, project manager at the National Polio Surveillance Project, a joint effort between the UN and the Indian government.

The latest estimates by the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) place the number of polio cases in India this year at 249, compared to just 35 in 2005.

The entire area of western Uttar Pradesh is acting as a reservoir for the wild poliovirus, Wenger says, and the disease has already spread outside the country.

Continued on Next Page >>


SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES

ADVERTISEMENT

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S PHOTO OF THE DAY

NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.