CDC’s Unsung Heroes of Polio Eradication

World Polio Day

Infographic Details

Unsung Heroes of Polio Eradication

As long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat to children everywhere.

Facts about the polio vaccine

In 1955, the polio vaccine is licensed for use, and the first vaccination campaigns begin.

In 1988, polio cases worldwide

125 countries = 350,000 cases

Today, polio cases worldwide

3 countries < 73 cases

CDC-affiliated Unsung Heroes

Unsung heroes include health workers, partners, and donors who work on polio eradication efforts. This includes the dedicated staff who provide scientific expertise to many polio

eradication programs and activities, which helps prevent transmission abroad and protects the

U.S. from polio in the future. CDC provides direct support to three major programs: the Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP), the National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) Program, and the CDC polio lab.

The Polio Lab (US)

  • Built global laboratory capacity through the development of the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN)
  • Pioneered assays and standards for molecular detection of poliovirus
  • Initiated the use of poliovirus genome sequencing to guide polio eradication efforts
  • Developed the first new human oral poliovirus vaccines since the 1960s
  • Supported clinical trials leading to introduction of new polio vaccine formulations and new vaccine schedules

Stop Transmission of  Polio (STOP)

  • Improved supportive supervision, mentoring, and on-the-job training of local staff
  • Improved integrated disease surveillance and response and respond to outbreaks
  • Improved quality of data management and use for evidence-based decision making
  • Improved routine immunization service management, delivery and feedback

National Stop (N-Stop) Programs (Nigeria And Pakistan)

  • Placed personnel in high-risk areas where others are not permitted.
  • Improved surveillance and respond to disease outbreaks
  • Provided highly qualified local staff and technical support, and builds capacity at the most critical operational levels in Nigeria and Pakistan.

Unsung heroes make polio eradication possible

Without the contributions of the CDC polio lab, STOP, and NSTOP, it would have taken much longer to get where we are today. Thousands of healthcare workers would not have gained the critical hands-on experience and other competencies necessary to reach every last child with lifesaving vaccines.

Thanks to the work of unsung heroes, more than 800,000 deaths and more than 18 million cases of paralysis have been prevented since 1988.

Polio Eradication is Within Our Reach

Children still need to be vaccinated against polio.

Without these heroes, within a decade we risk a resurgence of polio that could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year.

Polio eradication will prevent disability and save lives!


Page last reviewed: October 26, 2017
Content source: Global Health