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Advancing Science for Global Health
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Home > News > Global Health Matters > Global Health Matters Jan/Feb 2011 > U.S., Russia team in polio eradication effort Print

U.S., Russia team in polio eradication effort

January/February 2011 | Volume 10, Issue 1

Young child walks with bowed legs, holding hand of an adult who walks beside her
Photo courtesy of CDC

The poliovirus may cause deformities
in the limbs.

Russia, which has seen outbreaks of polio in recent years, is partnering with the United States on a new initiative to eradicate the disease.

An agreement to work together on polio eradication was signed in late January by USAID, HHS and the Russian health ministry. USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah said, “I am excited by the potentially huge impact that we can have when combining our countries’ respective talent and expertise to overcome our world’s development challenges.”

Polio persists as a stubborn scourge despite the 22-year effort of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which has achieved a 99 percent reduction in polio worldwide. But recent years have witnessed outbreaks in Central Asia and several cases in Russia of the highly infectious disease.

Image portrays structure of polio virus as determined by x-ray, bright blue fuzzy ball with areas of white fuzz on the edges
Image courtesy of James Hogle,
Harvard University

The structure of polio virus
as determined by X-ray

One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis and, among those paralyzed, between five and 10 percent die. “Ridding the world of this preventable disease will dramatically reduce the global burden of disability and death from polio,” said HHS Director of Global Health Affairs Nils Daulaire. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to strengthen our partnership with our Russian colleagues.”

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