My old hospital had an iron lung on the ward 2 balcony. We never had to use it, but in 1956 children from my school died from polio and others were in leg irons. That was why we seldom went swimming.
26 October 2010 -- This week, Africa has the unprecedented chance to drive out polio when 15 countries across the continent launch a synchronized mass immunization campaign to reach 72 million children. Some 290 000 vaccinators will go door-to-door to deliver two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to every child under five in "highest risk" areas for polio transmission.
It seems that one of the serotypes of wild poliovirus (type 2) has already been eradicated so the immunisation campaign is now concentrating on Types 1 and 3.
Attempts to control polio in Nigeria suffered a setback in 2003 when a group of Muslim clerics claimed that the conventional vaccine was tainted as part of a U.S. plot to make women there infertile.
There is now a new vaccine that is claimed to be four times more effective than the previous one. Although eradicated from most of the globe, polio can still be found in northern Nigeria, northern India and along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In 2007, 1,310 cases were reported worldwide, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But this news item might yet prevent success: PESHAWAR, Oct 19: More than 26,000 families have refused to administer anti-polio drops to their children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "These families refused administering oral vaccine to their children because the parents thought it turned the recipients infertile and impotent," they said. Two campaigns carried out from September 27 to 29 and October 11 to 13 showed that those parents flatly refused to get their children immunised on religious grounds. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata together have reported 57 cases of polio this year so far.
Pakistan has become one of the poorly performing countries in the history of polio eradication programme,” they said. Other polio-endemic countries have shown tremendous progress in polio eradication as Nigeria reported 400 cases in 2009 but number of cases this year is only 8. India had brought down the cases to 31 compared to 385 last year while Afghanistan reported 75 cases in 2009 and this year only 18.
Pakistan had recorded 82 cases this year so far and it could easily surpass the 87 cases, which it reported last year.