WHO: Fact Sheet – Poliomyelitis
Fact sheet N°114
Key facts [Excerpt]
- Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under five years of age.
- One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
- Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 650 reported cases in 2011. The reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease.
- In 2012, only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic, down from more than 125 in 1988.
- As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.
- In most countries, the global effort has expanded capacities to tackle other infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems…