World Polio Day is celebrated every year on 24 October. It was initiated by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
World Polio Day 2022 Theme: “A healthier future for mothers and children”
Use of inactivated poliovirus vaccine and live oral poliovirus vaccine led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. It is a public-private partnership includes Rotary, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the countries.
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children (under five years of age). The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can enter the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become nonfunctional.
There is no cure, but safe and effective vaccines are there. Polio can be prevented through immunization. Polio vaccine is given multiple times, almost always protects a child for life. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free. There are two types of vaccine to prevention infection.
- OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine): It is given orally as a birth dose for institutional deliveries, then primary three doses at 6, 10 & 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
- Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV): Two fractional doses are given at 6 and 14 weeks of age by Intradermal route on the right upper arm.