Polio’s been all over the news lately. For instance, yesterday we found out that poliovirus has been hanging out in the Brazilian sewage system (though there haven’t been any reported cases of paralytic disease yet). Of course, this is simply icing on the cake when it comes to a deadly disease that appears to be making a worldwide comeback. Though numbers thus far this year aren’t as substantial as they’ve been in the past, the number of countries that are currently circulating the wild-type virus appears to be on the upswing… Which throws a real wrench into reaching the universal polio eradication goal by 2018. Declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the WHO in May, it’ll be important to keep an eye on the numbers in the coming months. Here are a couple of charts that put things into perspective, using data that the WHO last updated on June 11, 2014.
Note: The proportion of confirmed wild-type polio cases in years 1996 through 2000 is significantly less than what we’ve seen since. This difference is most likely due to changes in disease reporting that took place at the turn of the century.