Number of wild polio cases declining internationally

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The World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee recently said that significant progress is being made toward eliminating wild polio cases around the world.

Wild polioviruses are those that occur naturally. 

During a teleconference on Aug. 4, various IHR States Parties submitted updates about applying the committee’s temporary recommendations in an attempt to put a stop to wild polio transmissions as well as the group's declaration that the international spread of wild polio constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Since the recommendations were issued, there has been an overall decrease in the rates of international spread of the virus.

Africa, for instance, hasn't reported any wild poliovirus cases for approximately 12 months. 

Yet, polio has yet to be completely eradicated. The WHO said there have been two new cases where a wild polio virus was exported from Afghanistan and Pakistan this year, with the strains found in Pakistan closely related to those found in Afghanistan. 

Based on this, the committee unanimously agreed that  wild polio remains a PHEIC and called for the extension of the temporary recommendations for three more months.

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