So far 2014 has been a good year for polio virus, and a bad one for humanity. After years of decline, polio is spreading to countries where it’s previously been eradicated. This includes Syria, where the civil war has disrupted childhood vaccinations; and Iraq, which imported a case from Syria. There have also been confirmed cases in Cameroon and Equatorial guinea. In all, ten countries have has active transmissions in the past four months.
Three out of these seven countries are still considered polio endemic: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Pakistan, in particular, is having a difficult time fighting the disease because health workers are coming under frequent attack by conspiracy minded extremists who believe that the polio vaccine is some sort of western plot.
This map comes via OCHA and details the kind of violence heroic vaccinators face on a day-to-day basis in Pakistan. These people are fighting a disease on behalf of children in Pakistan. But because of the highly contagious nature of polio, the fact is they are waging this fight on behalf of children everywhere.