World Polio Day highlights global efforts to end poliomyelitis worldwide | Mint
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Business News/ Science / Health/  World Polio Day highlights global efforts to end poliomyelitis worldwide
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World Polio Day highlights global efforts to end poliomyelitis worldwide

The poliovirus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis

A health worker administers polio drops to a child in Karachi. (AFP)Premium
A health worker administers polio drops to a child in Karachi. (AFP)

The World Polio Day is observed on 24 October each year.

Polio, a life-threatening disease, is caused by the poliovirus, which the World Health Assembly committed to eradicate in 1988.

The poliovirus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. 

The World Polio Day highlights the global efforts to end poliomyelitis (polio) worldwide.

The day is observed to raise awareness of the importance of polio vaccination to protect every child from this devastating disease and to honor those people whose efforts led to eradication of polio in many parts of the world.

To ensure a polio-free world, efforts must continue to maintain high immunization coverage, implement high-quality surveillance to detect any presence of the virus, and prepare to respond in the event of an outbreak.

In 1988, poliovirus was present in 125 countries, paralyzing an estimated 1,000 children per day. That year, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched with a goal to eradicate polio worldwide.

In last 35 years, due to GPEI cases of wild poliovirus have fallen by more than 99% – from 350,000 cases per year to fewer than 10 annual cases of wild polio.

Polio remains consistently present in just two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan. As long as wild poliovirus continues to circulate in these 2 nations, all other countries are at risk of wild poliovirus being imported. 

Polio vaccine is one of the most important vaccines to be administered to all children.

Polio, being a highly infectious viral disease mostly affects kids under the age of five.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus gets transmitted by person-to-person spread. It majorly happens through the faecal-oral route or contaminated water or food and then the virus multiplies in the intestine. From there, it can reach the nervous system and lead to paralysis.

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Published: 24 Oct 2023, 06:00 AM IST
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