Thursday, October 13, 2005

Medicine: Polio eradicated from the world*

WHO launched the drive in 1988 to eliminate polio by the end of this year. Massive immunizations have reduced the number of cases from 350,000 a year in 1988 to 1,255 cases last year. An outbreak in Nigeria two years ago occurred after Islamic clerics urged parents to boycott the vaccine for fear it was part of an American anti-Muslim plot, eventually spread first to Chad, then to nearby Sudan - and then across the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Indonesia was also affected.
I remember thinking those people were nuts for thinking the Polio vaccine was a plot to hurt them, but then I read about all the parents who refuse to give their kids shots for fear of autism. The insane ability to blame medicine for the very diseases it treats is something that unifies the Arab and American world.

*except in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt, who don't count.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

You can add the US to your footnote.