World Polio Day 2019: Thanks to vaccines, polio cases have d
Polio is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. People living with polio have the virus in their intestines. Some of this virus comes out every time they poop, creating further chances of transmission.

There are three subtypes of poliovirus: PV1, 2 and 3. Each one is equally virulent. Even if a child is immune to one of these strains, he or she may still get the infection from the other two serotypes.

Regardless of the type, poliovirus targets the nervous system, causing paralysis within a few hours of exposure. The initial symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue, vomiting and stiffness in neck and limbs.

India organises the biyearly National Immunisation Days for every child under the age of five. The programme also checks for the presence of poliovirus in the environment - this includes checking of sewage samples across the country.

Rotary International instituted 24 October as World Polio Day to celebrate the birth of Jonas Salk, who developed the first-ever polio vaccine in 1952. (Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine a little later in the 1950s.) As of 2013, there is a 99% reduction in polio cases across the globe.

There is no cure for polio; which makes prevention all the more important. There are two types of polio vaccine: oral polio vaccine (OPV) and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains live but attenuated (weak) poliovirus and is given at the age of six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks with booster doses at 16 months and 24 months of age.
OPV is further of two types: trivalent which contains all the three types of poliovirus, and divalent, which contains only two of the three types of poliovirus.

As of 2016, most oral polio vaccines are divalent since PV2 poliovirus has been eradicated globally.

IPV is an injectable vaccine that contains dead viruses and is given at six months and 14 months of age on the upper arm. It contains all the three subtypes of poliovirus and is the only way to get children born after 2016 immunised against the type 2 poliovirus.

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