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    On October 24, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control recognized World Polio Day. World Polio Day, originally established by the nonprofit organization Rotary International, raises awareness about polio and the possibility of its eradication.
     
    Polio is an infectious disease that usually impacts the central nervous system, sometimes resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis. (Survivors include U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, violinist Itzhak Pearlman, and Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph.) 
     
    Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. As recently as 1994, there were 80 polio-endemic countries, mostly in Africa and Asia. Today, there are only three countries which have never stopped the transmission of polio—Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
     
    Unlike most diseases, polio can be completely eradicated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “There are three strains of wild poliovirus, none of which can survive for long periods outside of the human body. If the virus cannot find an unvaccinated person to infect, it will die out. Type 2 wild poliovirus was eradicated in 1999 and case numbers of type 3 wild poliovirus are down to the lowest-ever levels.” 
     
    By working with local health-care centers to vaccinate more children, the end of polio is in sight.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    disease Noun

    a harmful condition of a body part or organ.

    dread Verb

    to fear greatly.

    endemic Adjective

    native to a specific geographic space.

    eradicate Verb

    to destroy or remove.

    eradication Noun

    total destruction.

    establish Verb

    to form or officially organize.

    impact Verb

    to influence or have an effect on something.

    infect Verb

    to contaminate with a disease or disease-causing organism.

    nervous system Noun

    cells, organs, and tissues including the brain and spine that respond to internal and external stimuli.

    nonprofit organization Noun

    business that uses surplus funds to pursue its goals, not to make money.

    paralysis Noun

    loss of ability to move a body part.

    polio Noun

     

    (poliomyelitis) infectious viral disease affecting the nervous system and sometimes resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    sprint Noun

    short race.

    strain Noun

    a version or variety.

    survive Verb

    to live.

    vaccinate Verb

    to infect with a modified version of a pathogen in order to produce immunity to a disease.

    violin Noun

    bowed string instrument.