LETTER: Ottawa must push to end polio

To the editor:

The world has been fighting polio for almost 70 years, beating it back to tiny final reservoirs in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The goal is to at last eradicate this terrible, incurable disease as we did smallpox, and it’s within our reach.

Canadians tend to be complacent about infectious diseases “over there,” believing borders will protect them. But AIDS, SARS and numerous other diseases show this to be a false sense of security.

Despite decades-long efforts, new polio cases suddenly appeared this fall in the Philippines and just now in Malaysia, a huge distance away from known sources.

As long as it exists the disease can suddenly erupt and spread anywhere, even to countries like Canada where so many increasingly refuse vaccinations.

Our grandparents will remember the dread of polio, perhaps even knew a victim.

Unlike them, we have a choice: the agencies responsible are heading a massive push to destroy this virus once and for all, but need money.

It’s critical that our federal government pledges Canada’s share of funding to complete this critical task.

Oliver Mark

Saanich

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