Polio eradication goal may be unrealistic, experts warn

International experts warned that the goal of eradicating polio completely by 2012 is becoming unrealistic.

Last year there were approximately 1,000 confirmed cases of polio worldwide, according to the BBC.

England’s former chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, heads the board monitoring the efforts of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which supports the eradication goal set in 1988.

"Polio is a very resilient disease,” Donaldson said, the BBC reports. “There was a big impact in tackling it in the first two decades since the goal. But we still have this very big rump of cases left behind. Tackling the remaining one percent of polio is the greatest challenge yet.”

The report by Donaldson’s group of experts praised India for having only one case of polio confirmed in the first six months of 2011.

"India has done something simple - it's run very high quality vaccination campaigns. They have public health leaders who are meticulous in making sure every child is vaccinated," Donaldson said, according to the BBC. "If they can do it, why can't other countries?"

The virus remains endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. Pakistan, the report warned, could be the last global outpost of the disease. It has also resurfaced in at least four other countries.

"Fourteen countries have had polio outbreaks since the start of 2010. It is alarming and bad for the program's morale that there are still these surprises,” Donaldson said, the BBC reports.