For much of human history, polio has been one of the most feared diseases
The case has been genetically linked to one found in Pakistan, one of the two countries where it is still endemic. Afghanistan is the other. The detection is a serious concern; Until polio is fully eradicated, all countries remain at risk of importation.
- Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly contagious viral disease that largely affects children under the age of five.
- It has the potential to damage the spinal cord, resulting in muscle weakness and paralysis.
- There is no cure for polio, but the vaccine protects children for life.
- It spreads primarily through the fecal-oral route from person to person or, less frequently, by contaminated water or food.
- The most common type of poliovirus is Wild Poliovirus (WPV).
- There are three strains of WPV- type 1, type 2, and type 3.
- Type 2 was eradicated in 1999.
- Since 2012, no cases of type 3 have been discovered.
- As of 2020, type 1 affects two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Although wild polio is caught in the environment, another type of polio is linked to the oral vaccine (which contains a live, weakened virus), which is equally concerning. There have been outbreaks of this type of polio in over 20 African countries in recent years. However, an injectable form of the vaccine containing a dead virus is now used, which does not result in polio cases.