Many countries around the world have celebrated World Polio Day on October 24 every year for more than 10 years.
The main task of this day is to convey to everyone information about the dangers of polio and its complications, as well as the need for timely preventive measures.
aif.ru spoke about the dangers that this disease hides Head of the Center for Epidemic Significant Infectious Diseases, National Medical Research Center for Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, infectious disease doctor, Ph.D. Alexander Dmitriev:
Poliomyelitis is the name given to infantile spinal paralysis, an acute, highly contagious infectious disease caused by polio viruses types 1, 2 and 3 and caused by damage to the gray matter of the spinal cord by poliovirus. Sources of infection are patients and virus carriers. Poliomyelitis, affecting the nervous system, leads to paralysis.
The high-risk group includes children under 5 years of age.
Back in 1988, polio was a nightmare for 125 countries. Today, thanks to vaccination, this list has been reduced to two – Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The last large-scale polio epidemic in the USSR was in the middle of the 20th century; vaccination has been carried out for more than six decades – since 1959. Thanks to this, the Russian Federation has had the status of a country free from this disease since 2002. However, the possibility of its occurrence in our country is not excluded. As long as there is at least one infected person in the world, the risk of contracting polio is possible in all countries.
Now 97% of the inhabitants of our country have immunity to polio, but vaccination must not be stopped under any circumstances. Poliomyelitis is a vaccine-preventable infection: as soon as collective immunity declines, the infection flares up again. Poliomyelitis is a disease that can lead to disability due to the development of flaccid paralysis of the muscles of the arms and legs, the diaphragm, damage to various parts of the medulla oblongata, the nucleus of the facial nerve, and even death.
Therefore, vaccination should be carried out strictly in accordance with the periods stipulated by the National Calendar of Preventive Vaccinations of Russia – at 3, 4, 5 and 6 months of the child’s life, followed by revaccination at 18 and 20 months, as well as at 6 years. The first two are in the form of injections. They are safe for health, but do not provide lasting immunity. The subsequent ones are drops in the mouth. The live vaccine used in them causes persistent and long-term immunity.