It looks like polio is making a comeback, and unlike your favorite band from high school that only dropped one album, this isn’t something you’re excited to see make its return.
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Monday, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency after an alarming spike in polio cases.
For whose who skipped the Jonas Salk fourth grade science project, poliomyelitis is a viral disease that’s incredibly contagious and spread through feces. It’s often seen in children, who are notorious for not washing their hands and then sticking said dirty hand in their mouths. Polio can cause severe paralysis or death, and is more common in struggling nations, who don’t have access to the vaccine and whose streets may become flooded with overflow from sewers after heavy monsoon rains hit.
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Typically this is a disease not seen in the US, thanks to Salk’s vaccine, but regions like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Cameroon, among others, have seen 68 cases this year. This time last year the number of cases was 24, and although the total may seem like nothing, such a jump in such a contagious and dangerous disease is enough to make even the crunchiest, vaccine-hating hippie get themselves and their children vaccinated.
Depending on where the disease spreads, travel restrictions may be put in place. As of right now no conditions have been made.
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