Why polio vaccines still matter

By October 24, 2014Infections

Polio – didn’t that disease die out with snail-mail and telex machines? Today is World Polio Day and, no – polio is still happening out there.

In March of 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the risk assessment of international spread of polio from central Africa – particularly Cameroon – to very high.

According to WHO, four wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases have been reported in Equatorial Guinea this year. Investigation shows that these cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon.

Since the start of 2011, 78 cases of polio have been reported worldwide. The last case of polio in South Africa was reported in 1987.

What is polio?

Polio is caused by poliovirus and is highly infectious. The virus enters through the mouth and mostly affects children below the age of five, but anyone who does not have immunity to polio may be affected.

Who gets the polio vaccine?

The vaccine against polio is part of South Africa’s routine immunisation schedule for babies – starting at 6 weeks old and repeated at least twice by age of 14 weeks.

To see the vaccination schedule, click here.

Source: WHO

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