Polio: need for strict preventive steps

Published Apr 02, 2013 05:05am

POLIO is an infectious disease transmitted through oral fecal route. Although the incidence of polio has dramatically decreased worldwide, Pakistan still has active and widespread transmission of polio with confirmed wild polio virus type3 (WPV 3) transmission.

Polio virus can be transmitted through contaminated food and water or through direct contact with someone infected with the virus. Polio is more common in infant and young children. Polio virus enters the body through the mouth which ultimately invades the CNS, resulting in paralysis.

In non-paralytic polio, a patient remains asymptomatic and develops mild flu-like symptoms. Paralytic polio usually occurs in rare cases and is a much more serious disease. A patient shows symptoms like abnormal sensation, difficulty in swallowing, urinary retention, muscle spasm, constipation, and difficulty in breathing, paralysis and even death.

Today despite eradication campaigns polio virus is still circulating and affecting children and adults in Pakistan. The danger of polio as a disease that travellers might carry into countries that are free of polio provided a powerful incentive for its global eradication.

Moreover, a person can easily contract a polio virus when he travels to a region where the disease is common.

Planned measures by immunising every child, especially in the high-risk population, are necessary for eradicating the disease. An extremely high level of surveillance should be done to prevent the spread of polio virus.

DR SHIREEN NAZIR Karachi

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