It took the world about a decade of concerted effort to eradicate smallpox -- the last "wild" case of the disease was in Somalia in 1978 (someone died of the pox in a British lab accident a few years later). The campaign to eradicate polio began in 1988 and will certainly reach the 20-year mark without finishing. To understand why, it's helpful to read this sad Reuters post from Iraq. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/cde520844242e6fd0dc635d48580390a.htm
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Last week, late at night in my Japanese-style 8x6 New York City hotel room, I was zapping through the TV channels when I came upon a most peculiar advertisement. In it, black, white and Hispanic tweens, teens and young women were skipping rope, running in marathons, waiting for subway trains and generally looking proud to be young and female. They were also smiling happily and holding up signs that had the number "1" printed or painted on them. This, it turned out, was an ad for Merck's new Gardasil vaccine, which protects against the human papilloma virus, the microorganism that causes cervical cancer. The theme of the ad was "One Less Life Affected by Cervical Cancer."
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