Polio: why vaccinations remain so important?

Polio: why vaccinations remain so important?

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Is the almost defeated illness coming back?

Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, polio, and Heine Medin disease, is a common term for most people, especially when it comes to child vaccinations. But the disease behind it has been somewhat forgotten these days. After all, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there have been no registered cases of polio in Germany since 1992. Why is vaccination against poliomyelitis still practiced when this disease no longer occurs in Germany?

At World Polo Day 2017, which takes place on October 28, 2017, doctors and experts will discuss the slightly forgotten illness and the risk of return. Because even if massive successes in combating polio have already been achieved, the disease is not yet considered defeated.

Polio control objectives have not been achieved

Despite the sharp decline in polio in Germany, the introduction of viruses from abroad cannot be ruled out, as polio diseases from wild polio viruses were still registered in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria in 2016. If these viruses get to Germany, the disease may break out again. According to the RKI, the polio vaccination rate among school beginners specified by the World Health Organization (WHO) has not been met in Germany. Instead of the required 95 percent, only 94.5 percent was achieved. This result is considered unsatisfactory.

Merkel calls for vaccination

Chancellor Angela Merkel also addresses infectious diseases in her weekly video podcast and calls for vaccinations. Among other things, she addresses the measles disease, which is increasing again in Germany and against which vaccination can protect. However, she rejects a general obligation to vaccinate.

Polio - what is it?

Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease that can be caused by polioviruses. Children are considered particularly vulnerable to this disease. Polio can cause permanent damage in the form of paralysis, which often affects the extremities. In some cases, respiratory muscles can become paralyzed. The infestation leads to death without mechanical ventilation. The virus is transmitted via lubricants such as urine or stool, but a droplet infection is also possible. Humans are the only known host for the polioviruses.

Polio worldwide

In 1988, polio was still a major danger with more than 1,000 new cases per day in children. This year, WHO and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which tackled the disease. Together with 200 countries and 20 million volunteers and supported by investments of more than 11 billion US dollars, 2.5 billion children have since been immunized against polio. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only countries in which the polio circulation has not yet been successful. According to the RKI, 37 polio cases from wild viruses were still reported worldwide in 2016, 20 of them in Pakistan, 13 in Afghanistan and 4 in Nigeria. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: The Polio Vaccine: A Dose of Prevention (July 2022).


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