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Polio Emergency

 

Polio Emergency: More on the News

  • The U.S. finds a place on a list of 30 countries, where either imported wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus or circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) has been identified.
  • Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

 

Polio Emergency: Circulating Vaccine-derived Poliovirus (cVDPV):

  • If an Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) vaccinated person is infected with wild poliovirus, the virus can still multiply inside intestines and be found in faeces.
  • In some cases, this excreted vaccine virus can continue to circulate for a longer time period, with chances of undergoing genetic changes.
  • This virus is known as cVDPV.

 

Polio Emergency: About Polio Virus

Pathogen:

 

Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause disability and can prove fatal in some cases.
Symptoms:

 

Fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs are initial symptoms.
Effects:

 

  • The virus enters the nervous system and in just a few hours cause total paralysis.
  • One in 200 infections causes irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs. Among these, 5-10% people die after their breathing muscles are affected and immobilised.
Strains of Wild Polio Virus (WPV):

 

  • Type 1 – Still in circulation.
  • Type 2 – Eradicated in September 2015
  • Type 3 – Eradicated in October 2019.
Spread:

 

The virus spreads mainly through the faecal-oral route. It can spread between population through contaminated water or food.
Vulnerability:

 

Majority of polio cases are recorded in children below five years of age, but all unvaccinated people can be infected.
Cure: Polio disease has no cure. It can only be prevented by vaccination.
Vaccines:

 

Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (OPV):

  • OPV uses a weakened (also called attenuated) form of poliovirus to build immunity. It can either be one strain or a combination.
  • The attenuated viruses can replicate effectively in the intestines, but are around 10,000 times less effective in entering the central nervous system than the wild virus.
    • This enables individuals to mount an immune response against the virus.
  • OPVs are more suitable for mass vaccination campaigns as they can be administered orally.
  • In extremely rare cases, the live attenuated virus in OPV can cause paralysis.

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)

  • It is made up of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all three types.
  • The vaccine is provided through an intramuscular or intradermal injection.
  • The vaccine produces antibodies in the blood against all three strains of the poliovirus.

Polio Emergency: Polio Immunization in India

  • The Government of India launched the Pulse Polio immunization programme in 1995, aiming to provide polio drops to all children in the 0-5 years age group.
  • WHO removed India from its list of endemic countries with active poliovirus transmission in 2012. India was certified polio-free in March 2014.
  • Risks for India:
    • India is in the close proximity of polio-endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite the gaps in vaccination during Covid-19, there is no evidence of virus circulating in the community.
    • The last case of polio in the country was reported from West Bengal’s Howrah district in January 2011.
    • Surveillance: India carries out acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance of the population to meet global standards.
    • It also undertakes Environmental Surveillance (ES), which involves regular collection of sewage water, to check for poliovirus in faecal matter.
life cycle of polio virus
life cycle of polio virus

 

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