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Regional conflict is keeping Pakistan from eradicating polio

A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to school children during a polio campaign.
A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to school children during a polio campaign. Photo: ARIF ALI / AFP / Getty Images

In recent years, polio cases were 73% more common in areas of Pakistan experiencing insecurity from conflict, and vaccination rates were about 5% lower during those periods, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Pakistan is one of only three countries that hasn't eradicated the virus, and insecurity is often cited as a reason.

"[B]ut the science to support this claim was surprisingly weak," study author Amol Verma from the University of Toronto tells Axios. "Our study provides strong scientific evidence that insecurity is an important obstacle to polio eradication in Pakistan, which is one of the last reservoirs of polio in the world."