Feb 6, 2012

But polio stubbornly persists in pockets of poverty in Africa and Asia.

How we will eradicate the next polio

Recently, in San Diego, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Rotary International announced a massive infusion of new money to finally eradicate polio worldwide. Polio is given little attention in American media today because it is no longer a public health issue in this country.
Decades ago, the deadly paralytic viral disease was purged from developed countries. But polio stubbornly persists in pockets of poverty in Africa and Asia.
Today the challenges to globally eliminating polio are largely political and cultural – overcoming local fears about vaccine safety, reaching people in war-torn areas, tracking people who are constantly moving and adequately strengthening the polio-fighting infrastructure.
We applaud Gates, Rotary and others for their enduring commitment to eradicating this viral menace that jeopardizes the health of poor children unlucky enough to be born in the slums of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria.
Of course, here at the Salk Institute we paid particular attention to the Gates/Rotary announcement because the original polio vaccine that halted the spread of the vicious disease was developed by our founder, Dr. Jonas Salk. Indeed, our highly regarded research institution owes its very existence to Salk's genius and persistence in conquering the poliovirus, and to the vision of the March of Dimes, which provided institute seed funding and continues to support our work.
For Americans too young to remember: Polio was once a public health terror, frightening families coast to coast. Each year thousands of children and teenagers died from polio outright. Many more, including President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, were severely crippled by it. Iron lungs, massive leg braces and wheelchairs were stark symbols of polio's life-altering effects.
The polio story deserves recalling because it is a shining example of innovation, dedication and resourcefulness in post-war America. Working under a mandate from FDR with public and private support and a great sense of urgency, scientists probed the biological properties of the polio virus. In 1948, the first breakthrough: Scientists in Boston successfully grew the virus in laboratory human tissue, facilitating vaccine research. Then, in Pittsburgh in 1952, Jonas Salk and his colleagues devised the first vaccine to boost immunity and show promise for large-scale use.
Our country then embarked on what, to this day, must be the most massive clinical testing ever. Some 1.8 million American children and teens were part of field trials in 44 states – from Maine to California. The study participants were dubbed “Polio Pioneers” and, whether they received the real vaccine, a placebo or were in the control group for comparison, each child was awarded a certificate attesting to his or her national contribution.
With testing on such an enormous scale, it rapidly became clear that the vaccine was both safe and effective. The trial was stopped in 1955 and the vaccine made available to the public.
Decades later Dr. Salk met an elderly man and his grandson in the Salk Institute courtyard. “There's the man who killed polio,” the grandfather told the boy. “What's polio?” the boy replied. Salk later described that moment as one of his proudest.

 “Polio Pioneers”

México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

Feb 1, 2012

Why polio is so hard to eliminate

CHAD: Why polio is so hard to eliminate

UNICEF supports polio immunization campaign in Chad
DAKAR, 31 January 2012 (IRIN) - Poor-quality emergency immunization campaigns and low routine polio immunization coverage are helping the polio virus to spread in Chad, with 132 cases reported in 2011 - five times the number in 2010. More commitment is needed across the board, especially from local health authorities, to try to get immunizations right, say aid agencies. 

The current outbreak in Chad has been ongoing since 2007, classifying Chad as a “re-established transmission zone” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Polio is endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan - in other words, transmission of the disease in these places has never been broken. 

While a dysfunctional health system is linked to poor routine immunization coverage, “the primary reason [for the upsurge] is operational,” said Oliver Rosenbauer, spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at WHO in Geneva. “It is not to do with insecurity or lack of infrastructure… The outbreak response has not been sufficient to stop it [the outbreak]… They continue to miss too many children.”

Polio this week As of 25 January 2012 http://www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx

TCHAD: Pourquoi est-il si difficile d’éradiquer la polio ?

L’UNICEF soutient la campagne de vaccination de la polio au Tchad
DAKAR, 1 février 2012 (IRIN) - La qualité médiocre des campagnes de vaccination d’urgence et la faible couverture de la vaccination systématique ont permis au virus de la poliomyélite de se propager au Tchad, où 132 cas ont été signalés en 2011 – soit cinq fois plus qu’en 2010. Selon les agences humanitaires, toutes les parties, et particulièrement les autorités locales, doivent renouveler leur engagement pour assurer des campagnes de vaccination efficaces. 

L’épidémie qui touche actuellement le Tchad a débuté en 2007, le pays est donc classé comme « une zone de transmission re-établie » selon l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS). La polio est endémique au Nigéria, au Pakistan, en Inde et en Afghanistan – en d’autres mots, la transmission de la maladie n’a jamais été interrompue dans ces pays. 

Si la faible couverture vaccinale systématique est due au mauvais fonctionnement du système de santé, « la principale raison [de la flambée] reste opérationnelle », a dit Oliver Rosenbauer, porte-parole de l'Initiative mondiale pour l'éradication de la poliomyélite de l’OMS à Genève. « Elle n’a rien à voir avec l’insécurité ou le manque d’infrastructures … La réponse à l’épidémie n’a pas été suffisante pour y [l’épidémie] mettre fin … Beaucoup trop d’enfants continuent d’échapper à la vaccination ». 

Pourquoi des enfants échappent à la vaccination 

Wild poliovirus (WPV) cases

Data in WHO as of 25 Jan 2011 for 2010 data and 24 Jan 2012 for 2011 data. 
*The 2010 total for Congo includes cases with inadequate specimens that have been exceptionally classified as confirmed polio based on their association with the WPV1 outbreak.

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