Newsday Tuesday: Polio Virus at the World Cup?


June 24, 2014


What do you get when you gather crowds of excited fans to cheer on their teams in one of the world’s greatest sporting events?

Noise! Passion! Energy! In Brazil for this year’s World Cup, it’s all there. Yet when people come together from all over the world, it’s possible they’re carrying more than just their favorite team’s jersey.

polioWC2The World Health Organization has reported that the polio virus has been found in tests of city airport waste in World Cup host city of Campinas, Brazil—near the country’s largest city, Sao Paulo. Tests showed the virus strain closely matched a version found in Equatorial Guinea—meaning the disease has traveled. Diseases have no borders or boundaries and can travel anywhere.

Brazil eliminated polio in 1989, and with more than 95 percent of Sao Paulo’s population vaccinated against the disease, there risk level is low. Yet polio can spread quickly and with visitors from around the world, Brazilian officials are searching for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated.

Worldwide, polio cases have been reduced by 99 percent. The discovery of polio in Brazil is a reminder we have to fight to eliminate that last 1 percent of the disease so we can say goodbye to polio for good!

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World Cup crowd image courtesy of

Polio drops image courtesy of Shot@Life

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