Althought polio has long been eradicated from most of the West, with no known cure, the disease still remains a concern in remote parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. A $5.5 billion "endgame" plan has been launched by the World Health Organization, WHO, with the intentions of eliminating the disease from modern medicine.

Polio is an infectious viral disease that attacks the human nervous system, causing an inflammation of the spinal cord. Approximately one in 200 infections can lead to interminable paralysis, generally in the legs.

Polio can either be passed on through regular transmission -- called "wild" polio -- or through "vaccine-derived" infection (the vaccine for polio is made with traces of the virus in it).

The Global Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan aims to bring the number of reported polio cases down to zero by 2015 and to completely eradicate the virus by 2018.

The plan highlighted four main objectives:

1. Poliovirus Detection and Interruption: By improving the resources for detecting the virus, researchers hope to eradicate all transmission by 2014.

2. Routine Immunization Strengthening and OPV Withdrawal: In hopes of eliminating all "vaccine-derived" cases, the plan aims to stop the production Oral polio vaccine, OPV.

3. Containment and Certification: The certified elimination and containment of the disease is set for the end of 2018.

4. Legacy Planning: A network of information sharing will be established between national and international health programs.

WHO was joined by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in contributing much needed funds to countries that are still affected by polio.

Although the virus has been under control in most parts of the world, the disease will always be a threat because of how transmittable it is. WHO's website states, that "as long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world."