Kolkata, Mar 3 : Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.
In most countries, the global effort has expanded capacities to tackle other infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems. India, once described as the most challenging place in the world to end polio, has not seen a polio case since 2011. This incredible achievement paved the way for the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region, home to 1.8 billion people, to be certified polio-free in March 2014.
The twentieth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the Director General recently at WHO headquarters with members, advisers and invited Member States attending via teleconference, supported by the WHO secretariat.
The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV). The Secretariat presented a report of progress for affected IHR States Parties subject to Temporary Recommendations.
The following IHR States Parties provided an update on the current situation and the implementation of the WHO Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on November 27, 2018: Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The committee commended all countries that presented on the quality of information provided, and the attention by the health authorities to ensuring timely and adequate responses in the field. (UNI)