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Vaccination saves from paralysis!

October 24 - World Polio Day. The whole world is working to eradicate this disease.

At the beginning of September 2023, as in previous years, Ukraine was on the list of disadvantaged countries regarding the epidemic situation of poliomyelitis.

As a reminder, in 2021, vaccine-associated poliovirus was detected in two patients with acute flaccid paralysis syndrome in children from the Rivne and Zakarpattia regions.

At the beginning of September, Ukraine received confirmation from the Certification Commission of the WHO European Regional Office about the closure of the poliomyelitis outbreak in Ukraine!

Despite the closure of the outbreak of poliomyelitis in Ukraine, it is important that all regions continue high-quality epidemiological surveillance of poliomyelitis!

WORLD POLIO DAY founded on the initiative of the international non-governmental organization Rotary International. The goal is to draw the attention of the world community to the problem of poliomyelitis and the 30-year struggle to eradicate this dangerous disease throughout the planet.

In the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain endemic countries. As long as poliomyelitis exists in at least one part of the world, everyone who has not been vaccinated is at risk of becoming infected with it. According to the recommendations of the WHO, the spread of poliomyelitis virus is stopped when coverage of poliomyelitis vaccination is more than 95%.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and constant migration processes among the population, the rates of vaccination coverage of children against polio decreased, which may contribute to the occurrence of diseases related to this infection among children.

What do you need to know about polio?

The poliomyelitis virus affects the central nervous system, causing paresis and paralysis.

A child who is not vaccinated against poliomyelitis is in the zone of increased risk and poses a danger to other children.

Children aged 6 months to 5 years are more often affected.

The disease occurs as a result of infection with one of the three types of poliomyelitis viruses.

The causative agent of poliomyelitis (poliovirus hominis) belongs to the group of picornaviruses of the family of enteroviruses (intestinal viruses) and exists in the form of three independent types (1, 2 and 3). Most diseases are associated with type 1 virus.

The virus tolerates freezing and drying well. It is not destroyed by digestive juices and antibiotics.

It dies when boiled, under the influence of ultraviolet radiation and disinfectants.

The incidence of poliomyelitis prevails in the summer and autumn months.

After a disease, a persistent, type-specific immunity is formed.

Clinical manifestations of poliomyelitis are diverse. In more than 90% of infected people, it is asymptomatic, in 4-8% - in an abortive form without movement disorders.

Only 1-10 out of every thousand people susceptible to the disease (0.1-1.0%) develop a paralytic form of the disease with the development of paralysis and paresis.

Signs of paralytic forms of poliomyelitis:

acute onset with an increase in body temperature;

· headache, throat pain;

· runny nose;

· vomiting, diarrhea;

· sudden gait disturbance, muscle weakness, pain in the limbs;

· the development of acute flaccid paralysis occurs from several hours to 1-5 days.

How can you get infected with the polio virus?

The source of infection is patients with paralytic and non-paralytic forms of poliomyelitis or virus carriers.

Transmission of the causative agent of poliomyelitis occurs from person to person.

The main mechanism of transmission of the virus is fecal-oral, which occurs through dirty hands, toys, surfaces, infected water and food; carried by flies. Infection can occur by airborne droplets through secretions from the upper respiratory tract.

How long is a polio patient contagious?

The virus is released from the upper respiratory tract only in the acute preparalytic period, with bowel movements - for a longer time. The most intensive release of the virus from the patient occurs in the first two weeks of the disease, but it can continue for 4-6 weeks from the onset of the disease.

How to prevent polio infection?

· Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing poliomyelitis, which must be given to children aged 2, 4, 6, 18 months, 6 and 14 years according to the Preventive Vaccination Calendar.

Vaccination for children is free of charge.

· Adults, in particular, tourists who travel to countries where poliomyelitis is registered, must be vaccinated against this disease at their own expense.

· If your child has not been vaccinated against poliomyelitis, contact your family doctor and start a vaccination course.

· To prevent enterovirus infections, it is necessary to wash hands with soap and hot water, ventilate and carry out wet cleaning in the premises. Use only boiled drinking water for drinking, thoroughly wash vegetables, greens, berries and fruits with hot water.

· At the appearance of the first signs of the disease, the patient must be isolated from other people and hospitalized in a medical institution.

Ulyana Fedoryachenko - epidemiologist of the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance (Surveillance) and Prevention of Infectious Diseases of the Lviv Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine

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