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This case study was adapted from the CDC Epidemiology Program Office, Case Studies in Applied Epidemiology, No. 891-903.
It is the early 1990s. The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning a program for the global eradication of polio by the year 2000. Likura is a ficticious country that may become one of the countries selected to test the effectiveness of WHOs polio eradication strategies. Unfortunately, little is known about polio in Likura. The Minister of Health therefore assigned the task of assessing the polio situation to a Ministry worker who has recently returned from an epidemiology course in Atlanta, and who is about to become the District Health Officer in the Ababo District. The Ababo District is a relatively poor rural district with a single hospital and several health centers.
The Ababo District has attempted to conduct surveillance on polio cases and deaths over the past five years. The hospital, health centers, and all health workers are required to report such cases to the District Health Officer.
Another way to measure the impact of polio in a community is the prevalence of severe leg muscle weakness or paralysis in children, since children affected by polio may develop this condition (lameness) as a consequence of infection.