World Polio Day is celebrated on the 24th of October each year with the aim of increasing awareness about polio virus. World Polio Day also aims at motivating further actions for bringing down the chances of the virus from spreading.
The celebrations on the World Polio Day also showcase the success of international strategies for bringing down the spread of the disease. World Polio Day provides an important moment to recognize the historic opportunity the world has to end polio and emphasize the need for continued commitment to achieve eradication.
World Polio Day is celebrated on 24th October every year across the world to remember the month in which Dr. Jonas Salk was born who was first to develop a vaccine against polio. The introduction of polio vaccination led to reduction of polio by 99% worldwide.
With the worldwide initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization program was launched in India in 1995. Children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high risk areas) every year. About 170 million children are immunized during each National Immunization Day (NID). On 24th February 2012 WHO has removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.
The progress is promising with every diminishing case representing one less child that must suffer from fever, fatigue, vomiting, painful limbs and occasionally, severe paralysis. Because there is no cure for the disease, the best way to keep the population polio-free is to maintain high immunity through vaccination.
We are on the edge of a monumental moment in public health and global vaccinations. More than 15 million people are able to walk today, who would otherwise have been paralyzed had the polio vaccine not been developed. We look back to commend the remarkable progress we have made, and forward to as we get closer to reaching the finish line of eradicating polio once and for all.
All we need to know about Polio
- Polio is a viral infection which is contagious in nature and in most severe cases causes' difficulty in breathing and irreversible paralysis.
- Polio is caused by a wild polio virus.
- The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through contaminated food and water.
- Polio mainly affects children who are under 5 years of age.
- As long as a single child remains infected from polio, children in all the countries are at a risk of contracting polio
- Polio can only be prevented as it has no cure .Polio vaccine with scheduled doses can protect a child for the lifetime
- Two vaccines protect against polio-One is oral vaccine which is given orally and the other one is inactivated poliovirus vaccine which is injected in leg or arm depending on patient's age.
Symptoms of Polio
- Sore throat
- Pain or stiffness in the neck, back, arms or legs
- Muscle weakness
These symptoms will last up to 10 days of infection.
Severe symptoms include meningitis (infection of brain and spinal cord) and irreversible paralysis of legs or arms which occurs in 1 out of 200 infections.
Risk factors for paralysis in Polio
- Poor immunity
- Tonsillectomy (surgical removal of tonsils)
- Intramuscular injections
Prevention of Polio
As there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented through immunization. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, protects a child for the lifetime. There are two types of vaccine that can protect against polio-Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). Oral vaccine is given orally and the other one is inactivated poliovirus vaccine is injected in leg or arm depending on patient's age.
Dose of Polio Vaccine
OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) 5 doses 1st dose at birth, three primary doses at 6,10 and 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
On this World Polio Day, let us be informed about this deadly virus and let us get our kids under 5 years vaccinated on polio vaccine day to do our part to prevent polio worldwide.