Comparison and Contrast of the Elimination Campaigns for Poliomyelitis and Leprosy: Which is More Feasible?

Luís Malheiro, Sofia Correia Pinto, Antonio Sarmento, Lurdes Santos


As we approach the third decade since the WHO started addressing the eradication of poliomyelitis and leprosy, a reflection of the previous campaigns efficacy and an evaluation of further elimination feasibility is important to adapt and intensify the next steps. We performed a critical review of the poliomyelitis and leprosy eradication campaigns to evaluate their technical and operational feasibilities. Vaccination and active case search are highly effective tools against poliomyelitis. If political stability and good vaccination coverage is achieved, poliomyelitis will be an easy target for eradication. Leprosy, on the other hand, faces many barriers towards elimination. The lack of a high efficacy vaccine, the long asymptomatic but infective period, the lack of screening tests and a poorly established elimination target, prevents this disease from being eliminated. In a world where resources and funding are limited, it is apparent that poliomyelitis is a more feasible target for elimination than leprosy.


Communicable Disease Control; Disease Eradication; Leprosy; Poliomyelitis; Program Evaluation.

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