The chances of polio virus becoming active are higher in an unvaccinated child
New Delhi: India was declared polio-free in 2014 by the WHO.
It is important for children to continue getting the vaccination as even a small gap in immunization among newborns can be enough for imported virus to seep in from across borders through adults exhibiting no symptoms.
India carried out the first of its two national rounds of Pulse Polio Campaign on January 28 this year. The second is on March 11. These two campaigns will see a huge mobilization of resources to give the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to around 17 crore under-five children.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “The polio virus can hibernate in the human body for a long time. In an unvaccinated child, the chances of the virus becoming active later in life are high. Vaccination helps in the production of antibodies thereby preparing the immune system for a possible attack from the polio virus. Polio usually affects children who drink contaminated water that attacks the nervous system to cause paralysis and continues to be endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The possibility of the virus re-entering India is high, and this is the prime reason for immunization to continue in the country.”
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Although improved public sanitation and careful personal hygiene can help reduce the spread of polio, the most effective way to prevent the disease is with polio vaccine. Also, there is no cure for polio as such and the focus is on prevention. ”
Some facts about the polio vaccine.
It is a virus that resides in the throat or the intestinal tract.
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