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Update: Polio Eradication -- the Americas, 1993

On September 7, 1993, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced that 2 years have elapsed since the occurrence of the last case of poliomyelitis associated with wild poliovirus isolation in the Americas (Peru, August 1991). This achievement is a milestone in the global eradication of poliomyelitis. The only infectious disease ever eradicated previously is smallpox, the last case of which was reported during August 1977 in Somalia.

PAHO has established an International Certification Commission on Polio Eradication (ICCPE) to independently verify whether transmission of wild poliovirus has been interrupted in the Americas. Before the Region of the Americas can be certified as polio-free, vaccination coverage with oral poliovirus vaccine must be kept at high levels, surveillance must be intensified (to comply with a series of specific indicators recommended by the ICCPE), and 3 years must elapse without any confirmed polio cases. This achievement is actively supported by each country in the Western Hemisphere and the many organizations collaborating closely with PAHO, including Rotary International, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Children's Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Canadian Public Health Association.

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