World Polio Day – Adequate Vaccination with regular surveillance is a must

Bangalore, October 25, 2017: While WHO has given a polio free certification to India in 2014, it is imperative to understand the nuances of this deadly disease. Currently being one of the two major diseases subjected to global eradication (guinea worm disease is the other), the government, healthcare institutes and individuals should come together to ensure that our status of ‘polio free’ country remains constant by administering polio drops to children aged below five years at regular intervals within stipulated time. India is currently polio free; however in order to achieve the status of a "polio eradicated country", India needs to maintain its polio-free status by ensuring adequate vaccination of its population with regular surveillance until the complete eradication of the virus is achieved.

Symptoms -Polio is a highly contagious diseasecaused by a virus attacking the nervous system and children below five yearsare prone to the attack. Unfortunately around 90% polio attacks areasymptomatic. The symptoms that are evident include – headache, vomiting,fatigue, sore throat, and fever. WHO says that 1 in 200 polio cases can causeparalysis. Some of the symptoms of paralytic polio include -  muscle pain,deformed limbs (hips, ankles, feet) loss of reflexes and sudden paralysis. Apart from children, pregnant women, people infected with weakened immunesystems are more susceptible to this deadly infection. Hence it is significantto prevent polio and it certainly is possible today.

Prevention - Children should be vaccinated withOral Polio vaccination (OPV) at following stages – a dose each when the childis two and four months old, a dose during 6-18 months and a booster dose at 4-6years. Adults are not recommended oral polio vaccination but people under thefollowing circumstances should contact their healthcare providers to take afinal call – when you travel to other countries where polio is still prevalent,adults working in labs especially handling specimen with the virus, andhealthcare professionals who come into close contact with polio infectedpatients, said Dr Rini Banerjee, Consultant – Infectious Diseases,Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.

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