Poliovirus to be Eliminated forever? Check out the Inevitable Steps to be taken!

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

The very first case of wild poliovirus Type 1 has been detected in Mozambique. It’s, in fact, the first imported case of this disease herein since the year 1992. Malawi had seen this outbreak in January 2022. As per the regional director of the WHO, Africa, it would be pretty tough to gauge the gravity of this new case.

The case mentioned above was found in Tete’s north-eastern region. The infected kid started experiencing paralysis in the last week of March. The Guardian states that genomic sequencing data indicated linking of the confirmed case with strain discovered in Pakistan in the year 2019 and was analogous to the case recorded in Malawi.

CDC has confirmed that poliovirus exists in three types – Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. It further states that September 2015 witnessed eradication of Type 2, whereas October 2019 saw Type 3 getting extinct. However, Type 1 does remain one case of its kind.

It is a known fact that polio is a fatal disease, to the extent of affecting the nervous system. As the virus finds its way to the faeces of the infected person, polio could turn out to be contagious if the same infected person does not maintain hygiene after defecating.

Could it be caught?

Poliovirus is also known for paralysing children (as mentioned above), thereby leaving them handicapped for life. At times, it could also prove to be fatal. Though the disease is incurable vaccination has brought the world almost on the brink of 100% elimination. The major problem with the virus is that it does replicate in colon prior to infecting nerve system and resulting in paralysis.

CDC has moved further with stating that the ones infected with poliovirus do not show visible symptoms. However, 25% of infected people do show symptoms similar to that of flu, which could last for 2-5 days. The other minor symptoms might be inclusive of nausea, tiredness, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, neck and back stiffness, and pain in limbs. In severe cases, the patient is likely to suffer from “permanent loss of muscle function”.

What’s Better? Prevention or Cure?

Polio vaccine does prepare children’s bodies to fight the polio virus. Almost 99% of the youngsters would be protected against polio if all the essential doses are received. The other way of keeping ourselves and the others around safe is through maintenance of hand hygiene. Maintenance of hand hygiene is another way of abstaining from poliovirus.

Coming to countries like India, it was declared free of polio in the year 2014. After the year 2011, there was no case of polio reported in this densely populated country. The WHO conferred upon the “Polio-certified certification” on India. The Pulse Polio Immunization Programme was launched by India in the year 1994. It was then that India had close to 60% of the polio cases worldwide.

It’s high time that the measures mentioned above should be taken by countries like Mozambique. As of now, polio has taken the form of endemic only in a handful of countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Guardian has confirmed it.

Certain preventive and corrective steps would certainly help in shooing away polio forever.

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