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  • Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world to combat poliomyelitis. The first was developed by Jonas Salk through the use of HeLa cells and first tested in 1952. Announced to the world by Dr Thomas Francis Jr. on April 12, 1955, it consists of an injected dose of inactivated poliovirus. An oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin using attenuated poliovirus. Human trials of Sabin's vaccine began in 1957, and it was licensed in 1962. There is no long term carrier state for poliovirus in immunocompetent individuals, polioviruses have no non-primate reservoir in nature, and survival of the virus in the environment for an extended period of time appears to be remote. Therefore, interruption of person to person transmission of the virus by vaccination is the critical step in global polio eradication. The two vaccines have eradicated polio from most countries in the world, and reduced the worldwide incidence from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 223 cases in 2012. In November 2013, the World Health Organization announced a polio outbreak in Syria. In response, the Armenian government put out a notice asking Syrian Armenians under age 15 to get the polio vaccine.

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