A single case of polio will put all children at risk – opinion

A illness that was eradicated in Brazil in 1989 haunts Brazilians: polio, also called childish paralysis. The fundamental cause for that is the constant decline in vaccination charges. As of 2015, the immunization proportion of children aged zero to five years was above 97%, reaching 100%. Since then, charges have declined. In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the speed dropped to 76% and in 2021, to 70%. This yr, as of September 23, the share was solely 50%, in line with information from the Ministry of Health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that at least 95% of children be vaccinated to make sure that all are protected.

People who lived a long time earlier than the illness was eradicated in all probability keep in mind the picture of children with polio in wheelchairs or utilizing crutches. Perhaps in addition they keep in mind the unfavourable strain ventilators, the machines on which the affected person would lie down and which acted as a form of iron lung to stop respiratory paralysis and consequent demise.

Young individuals, alternatively, didn’t survive polio, which formally contaminated greater than 26,800 Brazilians between 1968 and 1989, in line with well being ministry information. Lack of reminiscence about what it means to have the illness, linked to the expansion of the anti-vaccination motion, which unfold false info on social networks and pushed 1000’s of individuals into the hole of misinformation, ensuing within the unhappy scenario of low vaccination protection charges. In the nation..

Poliomyelitis is a severe illness attributable to the poliovirus, which might even result in demise. It manifests itself in two methods: with non-paralytic signs, like different viral infections, reminiscent of fever, sore throat, vomiting and stomach ache; and paralytic signs, when there’s immobility and consequent loss of muscle energy and reflexes. In this second case, the paralysis primarily impacts the legs and toes, however there are conditions the place the muscle tissues of swallowing, speech and respiratory are paralyzed.

Poliovirus enters by way of the mouth, ingesting contaminated faecal particles and multiplies within the intestines. This absorption can happen by way of contact with contaminated objects, meals or water, when, for instance, we don’t wash our arms nicely earlier than consuming or take one thing that has been poorly washed. There can be a small risk of poliovirus transmission by way of droplets launched by a sick individual when speaking, sneezing or coughing.

Most of the world eradicated polio within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties due to efficient vaccination campaigns. In Brazil, the character Zé Gotinha, created in reference to the oral type of the immunizer, turned an emblem of the combat towards illness, utilized in propaganda and standard amongst children and adults. However, different international locations reminiscent of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mozambique and Malawi have skilled latest instances of the illness. In different phrases, the virus did not disappear: it continued to flow into.

But the illness solely gained world consideration when poliovirus was present in some sewage within the US state of New York this yr, after which the an infection was recorded in a younger man who had not been vaccinated and was now paralyzed. This month (September) New York declared a state of emergency. It has been ten years because the United States detected a case of polio.

The discovery of poliovirus within the sewers of a rich and cosmopolitan metropolis was not simply in New York. In June, British well being authorities reported discovering the virus in London. Used to have an effect on populations in poor international locations, with poor sanitation and low vaccination protection, poliovirus has reached excessive-revenue international locations.

In Brazil, we do not know if there’s poliovirus in sewage as a result of environmental monitoring of sewage is proscribed and time-consuming. It is crucial that the nation prepares itself for such monitoring. A few weeks in the past, the Municipal Health Department of Roraima’s inside municipality of Rorainopolis knowledgeable the Federal Health Authority that it was investigating a suspected case of poliovirus.

Brazil urgently requires all children aged zero to five years to be vaccinated to keep away from the risk of illness resurgence. Five doses are beneficial: at 2, 4, and 6 months, in injectable type, and at 15 months and 4 years, in oral type. A nationwide polio vaccination marketing campaign is at present underway, which has already been prolonged on account of lack of adherence, and will proceed till tomorrow. If you have not vaccinated your son or daughter, go to a well being heart in your municipality, even when you do not have a vaccination card. We should act collectively: a single case of the illness will put all children, even vaccinated children, at risk.


Immunologist, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP), Director-President of the Institute of All Health (ITPS)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *