SEP 06, 2015 02:10 PM PDT

Preventing Polio

Just when it appeared that polio had been completely eradicated, the British Polio Fellowship has warned the globe of the dangers of complacency following the recent discovery of the virus in Europe for the first time since 2010. Two children, one four years old and one 10 months old in the Ukraine were confirmed as having polio the World Health Organization (WHO).
Polio still affects people.
The British Polio Fellowship, a charity that helps and supports those in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), says that this recent discovery provides a tough reminder to the world as to how much more work is to be done to combat Polio. Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 percent of those who have had Polio. It is estimated that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with PPS today.

Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, said, “All of us at The British Polio Fellowship were greatly saddened to see the news of Polio being discovered in Europe for the first time in five years. It was shocking news to receive and felt like a huge setback following the hard work that has been carried out by countless people over the years. This new discovery of Polio in Europe therefore is a timely and blunt reminder to all of us that Polio is very much real, and very much dangerous. It’s extremely vital that this setback acts as a catalyst for change, and a message that there is still work to be done.”

In addition to confirming the cases, the WHO said that both cases occurred because immunization rates in the Ukraine were extremely low. Both cases were vaccine-derived Polio, which can occur when children are given a weak dose of live Polio when they are vaccinated to confer immunity.

Polio immunization has dropped dramatically in the Ukraine since 2008, with vaccine shortages in the country currently common because of economic turmoil. Less than half, only 49 per cent, of children were vaccinated in the Ukraine last year. The WHO said that the current rate of vaccination against Polio among children under a year old is only 14.1 per cent because of a shortage of vaccine in the country.

Polio is still a problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Additionally, there are cases of wild Poliovirus in six countries including Iraq and Cameroon; while South Sudan and Madagascar have two and one cases of vaccine-derived Polio, respectively.

“The work and challenges ahead would be daunting for most, but setbacks like this only make us stronger and more determined to eliminate Polio once and for all,” said Hill.

In 1988, a global initiative to eradicate Polio was established, lowering the number of cases by more than 99 per cent in 30 years. Through routine vaccination, there was a reduction from 350,000 cases in 1988 to 650 in 2011.
 
Hill concluded, “We’ve been here before, where the road ahead looks discouraging, but time and again those in the Polio community, be they medical staff or volunteers have stood up and fought back. It’s vital that this continues and as well as heeding this recent discovery as a warning, we also use it to contribute more effort than ever to get rid of Polio once and for all.” 
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 15, 2019
Growing up high: new insights into how cannabis changes the adolescent brain
During adolescence, important cognitive functions develop. Adolescence is a highly sensitive period for brain development as it represents a time when regions of the frontal cortex in charge...
SEP 15, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 15, 2019
New Neurons Found to Develop in Older Adult Brains
There has been controversy surrounding the relatively recent idea that new nerve cells grow in adult brains....
SEP 15, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 15, 2019
Understanding the Spread of Parkinson's from the Gut to the Brain
Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder impacting the brain, can begin in the gut....
SEP 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 15, 2019
Anorexia is Caused by Genetics and Gut Bacteria
Although usually considered a purely psychiatric disorder, recent research has uncovered that anorexia nervosa may have other underlying causes. From genet...
SEP 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 15, 2019
The Genetic Reasons You're Addicted to Alcohol
Over the years, an increasing body of research has emerged looking at the genetic risk factors for alcoholism. Although some associations are inconclusive,...
SEP 15, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 15, 2019
Scientists Developed Magnetic Nanoparticles that can Remotely Modulate Neural Circuits
Currently, neuroscience researchers rely heavily on invasive procedures to stimulate and study the neural activity of animals. A team of MIT scientists has...
Loading Comments...