African Countries Confirm Vaccine-derived Polio Cases
'We have what it takes to finally wipe polio off the face of the earth. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership that includes our foundation, has proven it can meet local challenges to eliminate polio in country after country,' wrote Bill Gates in the GatesNotes posting on July 20, 2021.
The GPEI initiative focuses on adopting new tools and approaches to make vaccination campaigns more effective to protect every child. And, most importantly, we have thousands of dedicated polio workers committed to this case.
Unfortunately, polio cases continue to be reported by various countries.
The World Health Organization reported 1,226 cases of all forms of polio were recorded during 2020, compared to 138 in 2018.
And as of July 21, 2021, the GPEI reported a summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
- Ethiopia: 10 cVDPV2 cases and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
- Liberia: one cVDPV2 case
- Madagascar: two cVDPV1 cases
- Nigeria: nine cVDPV2 cases and five cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
- Senegal: one cVDPV2 case
- South Sudan: one cVDPV2 case
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis, says the U.S. CDC's website.
Following the introduction of polio vaccines, specifically, trivalent inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in 1955, followed by the trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in 1963, the number of polio cases in the USA fell rapidly to fewer than 10 in the 1970s.
For the best protection, children should get four doses of the polio vaccine. This vaccine is given as a shot in the arm or leg and is very safe, says the CDC. The inactivated polio vaccine may sometimes be given simultaneously as other vaccines, so discuss this option with your healthcare provider.
For information about adults who may not have received sufficient vaccine protection, see the CDC's adult polio vaccination schedule.
Getting the recommended doses of the polio vaccine is an important part of eliminating polio forever!