New world strategy aims to eradicate polio by 2018

Strategy will cost $5.5B

WASHINGTON - Health authorities are finalizing a plan to end most cases of polio by late next year and eradicate the disease by 2018 -- if they can raise enough money to finish the work.

The six-year global strategy will cost $5.5 billion, and require increasing security for vaccine workers who have come under attack in hard-hit countries.

But with polio cases at a historic low -- 223 cases last year -- officials with the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and other polio-fighting groups said Tuesday there's a chance of success. The disease was widespread in 125 countries back in 1988 when the global polio fight began. Today, it remains endemic in just three: Pakistan and Nigeria -- where those health workers were killed -- and Afghanistan.

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