Fear of the return of Polio

Return of polio

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued today an official declaration regarding the international spreading of polio as an international health emergency. The international health body, considering the rapidly increasing amount of cases detected in three conflict-zone countries. The WHO fears that this could lead to potential larger scale outbreak, therefore it has approved for mandatory vaccination certificates of citizens of Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon when the travel abroad.

WHO has labeled this outbreak of Polio cases a ‘extraordinary event’, and proper precautions must be taken in order to avoid the issue in becoming a global situation.  The main concern is that if this problem is not addressed now, this could very well result in a failure to eliminate one of the most severe diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine.

Polio (Poliomyelitis) is a viral, very infectious, incurable, and deadly disease, which can result in muscle atrophy. This means that a loss of muscle mass that can ultimately cause for permanent disabilities. Fortunately, modern medical advancements have found ways for people who have been diagnosed to be able to lead a normal life. Since there is not cure for Polio, the main way to treat the disease is by long-term rehabilitation, physical therapy and even orthopedic surgery. However lately with the growing popularity of TENS Therapy, this later option could be very well a thing of the past.

 In the past three years, international conflicts and warfare have sparked for a return of Polio to a degree that it is now viewed as a serious problem. Besides the aforementioned countries, several others such as Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia have also reported spikes in reported cases of Polio. While this problem is not to be regarded as a potential threat to first world countries, there is preoccupation that due to immigration from these conflict zones could potentially lead to outbreaks in Europe and America.  Also, taking into consideration that according to the WHO Ethiopia, Iraq and Israel are now being considered as posing risk for new poliovirus exporters.

Polio during the past 25 years was thought to be almost beaten and eradicated as the amount of cases reported around the world dropped from nearly 400,000 cases in 1988 to just almost 400 in 2012. However political tension, civil wars and extreme poverty has brought the disease back, and considering the very infectious nature of the disease, the growing amount is not to be taken lightly.

We here at DMS support the efforts made by the WHO in raising awareness to this international situation, at this very important juncture in time.