“We really think a lot of it is due to honest, valid concern that parents do the best thing for their child coupled with misinformation that gets out through various forms of communication”
|A HUGE RELIEF TO PARENTS - SALK VACCINE|
In the past few days I have read, with growing horror, of an outbreak of polio virus type 1 in China. Just this month 10 children have been confirmed to have the virus. That is 10 children too many! The World Health Organisation has isolated the virus taken from these children and has confirmed that the strains were genetically linked to the virus which is currently circulating in Pakistan. WHO still does not know if the virus was spread from China to Pakistan or vice versa. Pakistan reported 84 cases of polio this year - and this is an increase of 48 on last year. There are only four countries in the world which are still reporting cases of polio. These are Pakistan, Nigeria, India and Afghanistan.
|1916 - PEOPLE IN IRON LUNGS DURING POLIO OUTBREAK (USA)|
The gravest concern is the high risk of the virus spreading internationally, particularly where there are large population movements around the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
This outbreak and the potential for polio spreading around the world in a short time should be of huge concern to everyone. Countries such as USA, UK, and Australia have business connections in both Pakistan and China, and thus there is travel to and from these countries. America has military personnel in Pakistan. China is a popular holiday destination from Australia. People travel to India, Pakistan, China and return home - are they carrying the virus with them? There is a strong, if misguided movement AGAINST vaccinating children, both here in Australia and in America. Obviously children who are not vaccinated are totally unprotected. Polio has no cure.
|PATIENT IN IRON LUNG. ONE AUSTRALIAN WOMAN SPENT 60 YEARS IN AN IRON LUNG BECAUSE OF POLIO. THE IRON LUNG ALLOWS PATIENTS TO BREATHE|
The World Health Channel gives the following information
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a serious disease, caused by infection with one of the three types of poliovirus. The virus is spread through contact with food, water or hands that are contaminated with the faeces (poo) or throat secretions of an infected person.Symptoms vary from mild, flu-like symptoms to life-threatening paralysis. In one to two per cent of cases, polio affects the nerves, resulting in paralysis of the arms, legs or the diaphragm (which controls breathing). Between two and five per cent of people who develop paralytic polio will die. Half of those who survive will have permanent paralysis.Polio can be prevented with immunisation. All children and adults should receive the vaccine.
|CHILDREN AFFECTED BY POLIO|
Symptoms of polio
Polio symptoms generally appear between three and 21 days after infection. However, many people infected with poliovirus have no symptoms and may not even know they are affected. In mild polio cases, symptoms include:
Tiredness and weakness (malaise)
Nausea and vomiting
If the virus spreads to the nervous system, major illness such as meningitis (brain infection) and paralysis can occur. The onset of paralysis is generally quite rapid – usually within three to four days.
Severe muscle pain
Stiffness of the neck and back, with or without paralysis
Swallowing and breathing problems
Long-term disability, due to paralysis of the muscles
Death in severe cases, when breathing and swallowing muscles are
|OUR MODERN WORLD. THIS LITTLE GIRL HAD POLIO|
The poliovirus enters the body through the ‘orofaecal route’. That means it is spread when food, water or hands that are contaminated with the faeces (poo) or oropharyngeal (throat) secretions of an infected person are put into the mouth of another person. A person may develop symptoms within three to 21 days of coming into contact with the virus. They will be most infectious seven to 10 days before and after the start of symptoms. However, they remain infectious as long as the virus continues to be excreted in their faeces (poo). This may continue for several weeks. Typically, the virus remains in the throat for one to two weeks.
Polio is a terrifying, devastating disease. Between 1930 and 1960 there were 40,000 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis recorded in Australia. In real numbers those infected with polio could be up to 100 times greater. This is because only 1 in100 cases of polio causes complete paralysis, requiring hospitalisation and mandatory reporting. A large percentage of the ‘non-paralytic’ and non-reported polio infections would still have caused considerable damage to the motor neurons.
It is now known that polio also has late effects, which can occur up to 30 years after the infection. It is estimated that up to 4 MILLION people were infected in Australia between 1930 and 1988. Polio can cause total paralysis in a few hours. It is not confined to infants, but can affect all ages. People can become carriers, showing no symptoms but infecting others. Polio can infect thousands before the first case of paralysis is seen - the WHO considers that one confirmed case of paralysis is evidence of an epidemic.
|POLIO PATIENTS - NEW ZEALAND|
I cannot urge you strongly enough to ensure your children are vaccinated, and to have a booster yourself. Because the virus lives in the intestines and is passed in faeces, when your child has been vaccinated you must take extreme care to wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing a nappy, as it is possible for the virus to be passed to you. I am sure that the nurse or doctor administering the vaccine will advise everyone of the proper precautions to take after vaccination.
|POLIO VICTIM - U.K.|
When I was in high school there was a boy my age who had a cumbersome brace on his leg, which he literally had to drag around with him. He had contracted polio when he was small. The effects of the vaccine last for a day or so (if the child has any reaction!) but the effects of the disease itself last a lifetime, IF the child is lucky enough to survive.