Posts tagged ‘Poliomyelitis’


India’s Victory Over Polio Has an Unexpected Consequence – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s aggressive eradication of polio established the template for moving a disease from endemic to eliminated and has been lauded by the World Health Organization.

But in the process, a rise in the prevalence of another polio-like condition, acute flaccid paralysis, has been recorded.

Known as AFP, the condition is the sudden onset of muscle weakness or the inability to move limbs, and can be a tell-tale sign of polio, but is also a symptom of other diseases, including transverse myelitis, which causes injury to the spinal cord, Guillain Barre Syndrome, a nerve disorder, and Japanese Encephalitis, a mosquito-borne virus.

Since 1997, children in India who present with AFP are immediately tested for polio to comply with polio-eradication protocol and doing so has been one of the foundation stones for eradication.

Just this month, more than 200 young patients in the country’s most-populous state Uttar Pradesh, suffering from AFP were tested for polio. They didn’t have the virus, the federal Health Ministry said in a statement.

Such surveillance has resulted in a huge rise in reported cases of AFP.

In 2003, when polio was endemic in India, 8,500 cases of AFP were recorded. So far in 2015, a year after India was declared polio free, there have been nearly 18,000 reported instances but none linked to polio.

Often the cause of AFP remains unknown.

via India’s Victory Over Polio Has an Unexpected Consequence – India Real Time – WSJ.


India Is Polio-Free for 3rd Year, but It Can’t Afford to Be Complacent |

Good news does not always flow freely in India. Too many children still go hungry. Violence against women endures. Inflation is soaring, and gay sex was just criminalized, again.


But today India got a boost: Jan. 13 marks the country’s third year of being free of polio, the highly infectious disease that attacks the nervous system of children in particular and can paralyze within hours. The last child to be crippled by polio in India was a 2-year-old girl in West Bengal, whose case was confirmed on Jan. 13, 2011. The fact that none have been found since is a stunning turnaround from 2009, when India hosted nearly half the world’s cases. That polio has been wiped from this vast, crowded country is arguably one of the greatest achievements in modern public health — and a stirring reminder that sheer determination can, in fact, change lives.

People used to say that ridding India of polio simply couldn’t be done. The virus has used the subcontinent as an incubator for centuries, and some experts argued that the slow process of vaccinating every child could never outpace the rapid transmission of the disease. Happily, they were wrong. Teaming up with groups like Rotary International, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indian government launched yearly national vaccination drives carried out by millions of volunteers and, eventually, backed up by sophisticated disease-surveillance and population-monitoring systems. In 2002, there were 1,600 polio cases in India. By 2009, there were 741. Today, there are none.

via India Is Polio-Free for 3rd Year, but It Can’t Afford to Be Complacent |

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* India’s Great Polio Legacy

WSJ: “Hundreds of leading scientists are urging the world to finish the job on polio, declaring that the disease has never been closer to eradication and endorsing a new global plan to wipe it out within six years. India has proved an inspiration.

More than 400 signatories to this week’s declaration, hailing from 80 countries, believe polio eradication is achievable in large part because of the great gains India has made against the disease. Not long ago, experts said stopping polio in India was impossible, but we’ve just celebrated two years since the last case and continue to work hard to ensure that all children are vaccinated against the virus.

Polio once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year without regard to national borders. Now, it is endemic in only three countries.

The Scientific Declaration endorses a new global polio eradication plan provides a fully costed, realistic roadmap how to finish off polio. It applies lessons learned from India for reaching zero polio cases while simultaneously preventing re-importation of the disease and switching to a new vaccine that wipes out even the risk of vaccine-related polio.

As the rest of the world learns from India’s success, it is worth asking what else polio lessons can teach India. The country has the highest child mortality rate in the world; 1.66 million children under five die every year from preventable diseases. Innovations developed to eliminate polio offer India unprecedented opportunities to get other life-saving vaccines and health interventions to the people that need them most.

Measles could be the next disease on the hit-list. According to The Lancet medical journal, vaccines slashed measles deaths by 74% between 2000 and 2010, from 535,300 to 139,300. But India still accounts for nearly half of measles deaths.”

via India’s Great Polio Legacy – India Real Time – WSJ.

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