as the World Polio Day to create awareness about polio disease and several
efforts taken by world nations in eradicating it effectively around the world.
Polio is considered to be one of the most devastating and fatal diseases of the
world. It is caused by the wild poliomyelitis virus
and mainly affects
children under five years of age. There is no cure for polio. Polio prevention
is through immunization.
The wild poliovirus (WPV) has
three serotypes namely type 1, type 2 and type 3. Type -2 has been completely
eradicated and type 1 & 3 still exist in endemic areas. Type 1 is most
devastating than type 3 and both cause lifelong paralysis.
or Polio is an infectious disease and transmission takes place through feces and in environments that lack proper hygiene and sanitation. 90% of people infected with the disease do not show any symptoms. Therefore, even a single confirmed polio case is being considered as a potential threat as it can spread the disease to thousands.
affected with polio generally experience headache, pain in limbs and lifelong
paralysis. Paralysis can be differentiated into two types namely Acute Flaccid Paralysis
(AFP) and Bulbar Polio.
40% of people affected with polio may experience post-polio syndrome that
includes pain in muscles and muscle weakness.
was considered to be a deadly disease in the 20th
century wherein 1000 children were paralyzed every day. Globally, polio has been eradicated through effective immunization programs conducted by many organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Rotary International, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)
was first initiated in 1988 and through constant vaccinations
administered across several nations, polio has been eradicated from many countries around the world. GPEI now administers these vaccines namely, Oral polio vaccine (OPV)
, Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), Monovalent oral polio
vaccines (mOPV1 and mOPV3), Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to eradicate polio completely.
So far the program has achieved
99.9% eradication and has reduced the number of polio endemic countries from
125 to 3. At present, the number of children paralyzed by polio each day has
been reduced from 1000 to 1.
Polio - StatisticsPolio is the second human
communicable disease next to smallpox
though polio in most countries has
been eradicated, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two polio-endemic
countries existing still. Pakistan is aiming at polio eradication
by 2016, reveal sources.
Vulnerable countries include
Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic.
Though most of the country is polio-free, still the Southern
Region of Afghanistan and Farah province in the Western Region remain
polio-endemic. 85 % of cases were reported from these regions in 2011.
Lack of proper immunization and poor accessibility to communicate about polio
eradication tend to be the reason for the failure of complete eradication.
There was no interrupted transmission of polio in the country and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain most endemic
to the disease. The most recent case was reported on 16 September in Peshawar. The total number of WPV1 cases for 2015
is 38, compared to 205 at this time last year.
India: In January 2014, India was declared Polio-Free
, which the Rotary International claims as the biggest challenge they faced so far in eradicating it. They said that "India's success proves polio can be stopped in even the most challenging conditions."
On September 25, 2015, Nigeria
was declared polio-free
WHO, with no cases reported since July 2014. Around 45 million children were
continuously immunized under the global polio eradication initiative to ensure
that no child suffers from this disease. GPEI claimed this as a 'historic
achievement' in the global health sector.
Emergence of Circulating
Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus (cVDPV):
Vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) are rare strains of
poliovirus that have been genetically
mutated from the strain of the oral polio vaccine.
If a population is under-immunized, there are chances of these viral strains
circulating and spreading the disease again. Countries like Madagascar, Guinea
and Ukraine are under this category. Infections through this type of virus are
less but the eradication is similar to that of the wild virus type.
Global Polio Eradication Strategy for
This long-term strategy aims to create a polio-free world
by 2018. It has four main objectives namely:
detection and interruption
immunization systems and OPV withdrawal
According to the
GPEI, 10 billion doses of Oral Polio Vaccine have been administered to nearly 3
billion children worldwide since 2000 and around 13 million cases of polio have
been prevented. The reduction rate of the disease is more than 99%.
Currently, the GPEI is focused on eliminating Polio from two endemic
countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan to make the dream of a Polio-free world
Why Should We End Polio Now?
anywhere in the world is a risk everywhere in the world," says Thomas Frieden, U.S. Center for
Disease Control and Prevention.
only two more countries are endemic for this disease, eradication tends to be achievable.
If polio is not eradicated now,
then it is estimated that the disease will rebound to 10 million cases in next 40
as, the infrastructure for polio
immunization also strengthens the systems for other health interventions
Complete eradication of
does not guarantee a safer polio-free world because there are
high chances of recurrence. Therefore GPEI has dedicated itself to conduct
these researches for long-term monitoring of poliomyelitis/polio vaccines
and virus. It includes,
- Optimizing oral polio vaccine efficacy
- Developing affordable inactivated
- Managing risks associated with
vaccine-derived polioviruses and vaccine-associated paralytic polio,
including OPV cessation.
- Polio diagnostics
- Surveillance research
for Polio Eradication
main drawbacks for complete eradication of polio involve lack of proper
awareness on polio vaccination and also about educating people on routine
vaccinations to curb this disease. So on this World Polio Day, we can
contribute our part to make the world polio-free by taking these small steps,
- Educate yourself about polio
- Raise awareness in your community on polio
- Share news about ending polio through social media
- Write to local newspapers and magazines on polio
- Motivate people in inaccessible areas to vaccinate
- Spread the importance of routine polio vaccination
- Create voluntary organizations in your community
- Encourage your government to organize frequent
vaccination camps in your community