World Polio Day 2021: Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus and is a fatal infectious disease, with no cure but with the help of an effective vaccine, it can be prevented.
In about 0.5 percent of cases, it moves from the gut to affect the central nervous system, and there is muscle weakness resulting in a flaccid paralysis. This can occur over a few hours to a few days.
Polio has crippled millions of lives and claimed several lives too. Despite the availability of the effective vaccine, this preventable viral disease has impacted a huge number of lives world wide.
The weakness most often involves the legs, but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck, and diaphragm. Many people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness, about 2 to 5 percent of children and 15 to 30 percent of adults die. Up to 70 percent of those infected have no symptoms. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat, and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness, and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. Years after recovery, post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.
World Polio Day offers an opportunity to renew the commitment to eradicate polio, globally. The goal of eradication of polio was first adopted in 1988 and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI ) was established. Oral poliovirus was developed by Albert Sabin in 1961, which led to the establishment of GPEI. In 1961 first monovalent oral vaccine was developed which was followed by the trivalent oral polio vaccine in 1963. As of 2013, GPEI had minimized polio worldwide by 99%. Today five out of six WHO regions are certified free of polio. The last stronghold of this poliovirus is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
World Polio Day is an ideal time to raise public awareness regarding the devastating effects of polio on children and efforts to eradicate it.
World Polio Day: Theme 2021
The theme of this year is ” One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio – delivering on our promise of a polio-free world”. It is a promise of a polio-free world for current and future generations.
World Polio Day is observed on October 24 every year to raise awareness for polio vaccination and eradication of polio. The World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The last stronghold of poliovirus is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Several critical challenges stand in the way of achieving eradication, including the global pandemic.
As per WHO use of the poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. As of 2013, GPEI had reduced polio worldwide by 99%.
Causes of Polio :
Polio is caused by an RNA virus, where 85% of the infections are paralytic. Poliovirus is most commonly spread in areas where there is poor sanitation. The virus can be spread through contaminated food and water. Individuals infected with the poliovirus can spread the infection from their feces. Also, direct contact with the poliovirus-infected person can cause poliomyelitis.
World Polio Day: Polio prevention & treatment
There are two types of vaccines that can prevent polio, they are the following:
Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age. Only IPV has been used in the United States since 2000.
Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is still used throughout much of the world.
The Polio vaccine protects children by preparing their bodies to fight the poliovirus.
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by the polio virus. Although very rare, the virus can attack the parts of the brain that help you breathe, which can lead to death. Polio has no cure, but it can be prevented with vaccination.