Polio is Going, But Not Gone

Wild Poliovirus 1 remains circulating uninterrupted in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan

afghan children

Although progress toward achieving global polio eradication has continued, challenges in identifying and vaccinating every missed child remain.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly disease.

Polio is caused by the poliovirus, which spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis. 

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine (4 doses) that has been given in the USA since 2000. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is used in other countries.

Substantial progress was made toward Wild Poliovirus (WPV) eradication during 2016–2017, challenges remain in the 3 countries with an endemic transmission, says new research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Global WPV2 eradication was certified in 2015 after no detection was reported since 1999. And WPV type 3 has not been detected since 2012.

But, the transmission of WPV type 1 (WPV1) remains the only confirmed circulating type and continues uninterrupted in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

As of the end of 2017, 22 WPV1 cases were reported in those 3 countries, which is a 41 percent decrease from 2016.

And, only 7 WPV1 cases in Afghanistan and 1 in Pakistan have been reported as of April 24, 2018.

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In the other countries of the Lake Chad basin bordering Borno State, such as Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, problems with inaccessibility related to insecurity and a large number of difficult-to-access islands have been addressed through progressive improvements in the implementation of supplementary immunization activities.

Reaching all children for vaccination in areas with Persistent circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) transmission is also an ongoing challenge, says the WHO.

Much of the recent progress reaching previously missed children has been associated with recruitment of trusted community volunteers who are invested in their locality for vaccination and surveillance efforts.

Until poliovirus eradication is achieved, all countries must remain vigilant by maintaining high population immunity and sensitive poliovirus surveillance says the CDC.

In the USA, certified pharmacies offer travel vaccines

Travel vaccination appointments can be scheduled at this link.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information, and vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.