Table of Contents
Context: West Bengal government announced that it was introducing an additional dose of injectable polio vaccine as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) for children.
About Polio Disease
- Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease that is caused by the polio virus.
- Virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route
- Poliovirus can invade the central nervous system and as it multiplies, destroy the nerve cells that activate muscles, causing irreversible paralysis in hours.
- There are three types of polio virus serotypes: types 1, 2 and 3.
Who is Most at Risk for Polio?
- Poliovirus usually affects children under 5 years of age who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.
- The virus can also affect or be carried by adolescents and adults.
- The child or individual suspected of polio may complain of sudden onset of weakness of arms and/or legs.
- According to the India Polio Learning Exchange (along with UNICEF), of those paralysed, 5-10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
Prevention of Polio
- There is no cure for polio.
- The disease can severely paralyze, or even kill, an infected child.
- Polio can be prevented by immunizing a child with appropriate vaccination.
- There are currently two effective polio vaccines:
- Live attenuated oral polio vaccine (OPV).
- Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
- Oral polio vaccine is provided at birth, at six weeks, 10 weeks and at 14 weeks (a booster could be factored in at 16-24 months).
- The injectable vaccine is given at six weeks, and then, another dose at 14 weeks.
India and Polio
- In 2012, the WHO removed India from the list of endemic countries of Polio.
- Vaccination in India: In India, two Polio Immunisation days are observed in the country each year and in some States, there are sub-national immunisation days, involving children under five years of age.
- Case of West Bengal: Vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was detected in the environmental surveillance of sewage samples from Kolkata.
- An additional dose of inactivated poliovirus (IPV) at nine months will protect against any polio thereafter — Vaccine Associated Paralytic Polio or Vaccine Derived Polioviruses.
Global Polio Cases and Efforts
- Wild poliovirus type 2 was globally eradicated in 1999, but vaccine virus type 2 continued for 16 more years.
- No case of wild poliovirus type 3 has been found since the last reported case in Nigeria in November 2012.
- As of October 2022, only two countries worldwide remain with indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) — Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Though India has been certified “polio-free”, the risk of wild poliovirus importation or the emergence of vaccine-derived polioviruses persists.
Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
- It is implemented to provide vaccination to children against life threatening diseases such as Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Measles, Rubella, Pneumonia and Meningitis caused by Haemophilus Influenzae B.
- The Rotavirus vaccination has also been rolled out in the country for prevention of Rota-viral diarrhoea.
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) has been introduced in all the States and UTs.
Mission Indradhanush (MI)
- It was launched to fully immunize more than 89 lakh children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated under UIP.
- It provides vaccination against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) i.e. diphtheria, Whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae type B infections, Japanese encephalitis (JE), rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR).
- Under Mission Indradhanush, all vaccines under Universal Immunization Program (UIP) are provided as per National Immunization Schedule.