Tuesday, 3 January 2017

What you must know about polio

Cross River State Government is currently looking into a case of suspected polio infection involving an infant. 
The case was detected in Ekpene-Eki, Odukpani Local Government Area of the state. 
It may be recalled that before three new cases of wild polio were reported between July and August 2016, Nigeria had been polio-free for more than two years. 
All the three new cases then were detected in Borno State among children between ages two and five. Two of them developed acute flaccid paralysis, while one was asymptomatic, being a case of close contact with an infected child. 
The viruses that were detected in 2016 were closely linked to the ones last detected in Borno in 2011. This is an indication that this virus strain has been circulating without detection since that time. 
And now a suspected polio case in Cross River! 
But then, why has it been so difficult to beat polio globally and rid the world of this paralysing infection? Here’s why…
• Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a viral disease of the brain and spinal cord that can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.
• There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented.
• Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life. Vaccines can be oral or injected.
• The virus is transmitted from person to person through the ingestion of faeces from contaminated hands, food or water.
• Polio mainly affects children under five years of age. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs.
• Among those paralysed, five percent to 10 percent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
• As long as one child remains infected, all children are at risk.
• If polio is not completely eradicated, 200,000 new cases each year could crop up within 10 years globally.
Sources: World Health Organisation, Global Polio Eradication Initiative

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