The Polio Virus is Not Eradicated [Video]

Polio (Poliomyelitis) is a virus that can leave victims paralyzed, and in severe cases, unable to breath on their own.

It is an RNA based virus that infects the digestive tract. In a small percentage of cases, the polio virus can infect the central nervous system which can render the victim unable to move various muscle groups. There are three types of Polio, Types 1, 2 and 3. They all illicit similar symptoms, however Type 1 is more commonly associated with paralysis.

Polio History:

The earliest recordings of Polio dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Polio spreads through the fecal/oral route and has been especially problematic among poorer cultures with ineffective sanitation and polluted drinking water. In the 1950s, Polio became an epidemic in Westernized societies. Hundreds of thousands of people in America and Europe were left paralyzed by the disease and many thousands died.

Polio Treatment:

In 1950, the first polio vaccine proved successful.

A child being vaccinated for the Polio Virus

In 1962, an oral vaccine was developed and approved and is now the preferred method of vaccination. In recent years, the oral vaccine has been greatly improved.

Polio Virus Today:

In the 1980s, Polio was eradicated here in the US and Europe.  However, Polio is still problematic in parts of Afghanistan, India and Africa. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is committed to wiping this virus off of the planet. They have succeeded in getting rid of Polio Type 2 and played a critical role in improving the oral vaccine. Recently however, there has been a Polio outbreak in the countries I have mentioned. Hundreds of children have been paralyzed and have died. Polio could potentially come back with a vengeance, and this organization is committed to snuffing it out completely.

Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist who heads the polio eradication programme at the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). He talks more about how the GPEI is going to eradicate Polio completely in this TED talk.

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