Andhra Pradesh

Sanitation key to preventing transmission of poliomyelitis

Poliomyelitis is a viral disease that mainly affects children under five years of age. Polio, once an endemic disease with devastating results like paralysis, was eradicated from India in 2014 due to consistent efforts of the Government of India and partners of global polio eradication initiative like the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and Rotary International.

The virus mainly invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis. In most of the cases (90-95%), the infection is inapparent and would induce protective immunity, while paralytic polio occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 infected children, said Dr. Maruthi Prasad Upputuri, consultant paediatrician, KIMS ICON Hospital, in connection with World Polio Day on October 24.

Polioviruses are spread by the faecal-oral route, which is why environmental sanitation plays a vital role in preventing transmission. Humans are the only known reservoirs of polio virus and thus even if a single child remains infected with polio virus, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries left with endemic transmission. These being our neighbors, India should be on high alert. The rejection of poliovirus vaccine initiatives and campaign quality in security-compromised areas in parts of these countries are the major difficulties faced in eradication, he says.

Vaccination is the only effective method of preventing poliomyelitis. Both IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) and OPV (oral polio vaccine) have established efficacy in preventing poliomyelitis and paralytic polio. Every child should be given four doses of IPV at 6, 10, 14 weeks of life and 15-18 months. OPV is to be received at birth and also on pulse polio immunisation days.

Once polio is eradicated, the world can celebrate the delivery of a major global public good that will benefit all people equally, no matter where they live. Most importantly, success will mean that no child will ever again suffer the terrible effects of lifelong polio-paralysis, Dr. Maruthi Prasad said.

World Polio Day is observed on October 24.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:47:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/sanitation-key-to-preventing-transmission-of-poliomyelitis/article32922785.ece

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