Polio (Poliomyelitis)

Is it really eradicated?

What is Polio?

Polio is a disease caused by poliovirus. Polio is commonly referred to as the paralytic disease. This disease can spread by air, mouth, feces, or direct contact from an infected person. If in contact with an infected person this disease is highly contagious. The virus lives in the mouth or intestines of individual. Most people experience no symptoms or will experience minor flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, fever, nausea, or headaches. Other people can have paralysis, severe bone and muscle pain (from paralysis), meningitis (infection of brain and spinal cord), or death! Since there are minimal symptoms the disease can spread to thousands before it is known that Polio is the cause. There is no cure for polio so immunization is a must in order to ensure safety from this disease. If the disease in contracted the only treatment available will alleviate symptoms to help mobility, not reverse the damage done. Treatment includes heat and therapy for stimulation or muscle relaxer to help the paralysis pain.

History of Polio

In the 1950's Polio was prevalent and all families were in fear for their children's safety from the disease. The most famous account of Polio is from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR was paralyzed from the waist down due to an infection of Polio around age 40. During this epidemic the nation worked together in order to find a vaccine. In 1938 FDR organized the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now March of Dimes) to help fund this effort. The first vaccine to be effective was produced in 1952 by Jonas Salk and his team. A study ensued and included 1.8 million school children. Within a year the results labeled this vaccine save and effective. This vaccine was the killed virus aka the Inactivate Poliovirus Vaccine. The second safe and effective vaccine to be created came from Albert Sabin. This vaccine is the Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (OPV). In 1952, there were over 55,000 cases in the U.S., with over 20,000 suffering paralysis and more than 3,000 dying. By 1979 all of the United States was extinguished of Polio. Since Polio was and is still prevalent in other countries high vaccination rates much continue to keep the disease stamped out. Without the national project over 50 years ago to eradicate this disease today's generation would be riddled with Polio cases.

What the vaccine will do for you?

Since there is no cure for polio the vaccine will prevent this potentially fatal disease. 99% of people who receive the vaccination will be polio free. There are two types of vaccines for polio, IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) or OPV (Oral poliovirus vaccine). The IPV is used in the U.S. and the OPV is used in the rest of the world. These vaccines are considered safe with minor side effects that include temporary redness or pain at the injection site.

Who should be vaccinated?

All people can be affected by Polio but children under the age of 5 are extremely susceptible! Any child should be vaccinated against polio unless they are severely ill or allergic to IPV.
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Polio occurrences in 2015

Polio has been eradicated in many countries, including the United States. Polio transmission is still watched in some countries. Polio is still considered endemic in three countries. Those three are Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. This may sound like good progress on eradication but it only takes one infected traveler to bring the disease to other countries. For this reason it is pertinent to have your children vaccinated just in case they happen upon someone who has acquired this disease in a foreign country. Countries in West and Southern Africa have a higher chance of Polio returning and are sometimes called the "polio importation belt" The number of cases since the vaccine in the world has dropped from 350,000 cases in 1988 to under 2,000 cases in 2007.
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If there were to be an introduction of Polio to the United States then the occurrences should be contained

Purple Pinkie Day

Saturday, Oct. 24th, 8am

181 Main Street

Presque Isle, ME

Donate $1 to have your pinkie "painted" purple is a symbol for one polio immunization. The estimated cost to immunize one child from polio is $1, and when each child gets immunized, Rotarians mark their pinkies with a topical purple dye to prevent double dosages. Funds raised during our Purple Pinkie Project will go to Rotary International's End Polio Now efforts.