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A Disease that is No More

As someone who worked on the campaign to end polio globally with photographer Sebastiao Salgado and the organizations WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and the Centers for Disease Control, I was happy to see that for only the second time in history (smallpox being the first) has humanity triumphed against a disease. This time it is rinderpest, a virus that killed millions of cattle, with a fatality rate of 80% for some species, leading to starvation among humans. It has been nine years since there has been an animal that contracted the disease, and now the United Nations has declared the disease to have been eradicated from the planet. Meanwhile, the campaign against polio continues.

Given the enormous problems this world faces, these kinds of public health successes should be emblazoned across the front pages and screens of our news media. They might just serve as models for other kinds of efforts for the public good.

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