Polio, full name poliomyelitis, is a virus that is transmitted from one person to another mostly through fecal matter. It can also be transferred through a less common way such as food or water contamination. This is a crippling disease that has been known to affect mostly children.
The disease has been known to exist for millennia, even during the ancient Egyptian times. This has been proven by artwork from the ancient Egyptian times that show a victim suffering from the disease with a thin and deformed limb, supporting himself with a staff.
The virus works in the way that it first invades the nervous system and then begins to destroy the nerve cells which have control over the muscle functions, especially the leg muscles. If someone gets paralyzed by the disease there is a 5 – 10 percent chance that they will die as soon as their respiratory system is affected. There is no saving the infected.
The disease itself has no cure, but it can be prevented if the children are given polio immunization.
In the year 1952, scientist Jonas Salk produced the polio vaccine which was supposed to be injected in the person, and in 1961 Albert Sabin created the oral vaccine drops which were able to bring about the immunity throughout the communities. The vaccine was immensely successful in preventing the development and spread of polio in the societies around the world.
The World Health Organization has set out on a mission to eradicate this debilitating disease around the world. There are four key strategies that have been designed to achieve complete eradication of the disease:
An infant, during the first year of their life, should be given polio vaccine.
National immunization days should be organized to provide children under 5 years of age with supplementary oral dosage.
There should be surveillance of areas with potential of being affected for any wide and active polio virus situation.
“Mop-up” campaigns should be introduced to the areas that have been affected by the disease.
Although there are a handful of countries where Polio still exists, doctors are hopeful that 2018 will be the year in which we will see the complete eradication of the crippling disease.
About the Author:
A former Computer Systems Engineer Amita Vadlamudi, is the author of many articles and blog posts. Science, Technology, Ancient history, Astronomy and Nature are some of Amita Vadlamudi’s favorite subjects.