The world’s poorest countries could finally wipe out polio—as long as the richest ones don’t bring it back

On July 24, 2015, it will be exactly one year since the last case of poliomyelitis was detected in Nigeria. Once that’s officially confirmed, the country will get off the list of areas where the wild polio virus is endemic—and with it, so will the entire African region.

That will leave only Pakistan and Afghanistan on the endemic list. There, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, polio is on its way to being cornered; no new cases are expected in the first half of...

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