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Jul 31, 2014
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Jul 21, 2014
Pakistan’s fight against polio has faltered yet again with five new cases reported in the country, raising the number of victims affected by the crippling virus this year to 99.
“Five new polio cases were reported in different areas of the country, taking the total number of this year’s cases to 99,” Express News reported Saturday.
One of the identified victims is 21-month-old Hamza from Karachi whose parents reportedly refused to give him polio drops during the campaign.
The other four victims are 24-month-old Jaul Haq, 18-month-old Mariam from North Waziristan, 18-month-old Fayyaz from South Waziristan and Maya from Lakki Marwat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The number of polio cases is rising due to the relocation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Waziristan, where military operation has dislocated nearly one million people.
The World Health Organisation slapped travelling restriction on Pakistan this year after it was declared as one of the countries posing a threat of exporting polio-virus.
Pakistan government had announced measures to curb the disease but there are no indications signalling the trend has been reversed.
Along with neighbouring Afghanistan and Nigeria, Pakistan is a country struggling to contain the disease.Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico
Polio, postpolio, vacunas, erradicación, Pakistan polio cases
Jul 13, 2014
Everyone must take responsibility for the epidemic of scientific mistrust and ignorance gripping the world and returning polio to the most vulnerable, writes Lauri Zoloth.
Jul 11, 2014
In Nigeria’s Borno and Yobe states, a major polio vaccination campaign is being carried out by state governments and partners, including UNICEF. Residents are also being provided basic health care services, including treatment for malnutrition.
|© UNICEF Nigeria/2014|
|Mothers wait to get their children vaccinated at the Kachalla comprehensive health centre in Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria.|
ABUJA, Nigeria, 26 June 2014 – Young women hold their little ones as they sit patiently on wooden benches, waiting their turn at a health camp that provides polio vaccination and much-needed health care in north-eastern Nigeria, where increasing violence has led to displacement of local populations.
Many of the patients at the clinic in Bolori, a ward in Borno’s state capital of Maiduguri, have fled the violence, and quite a few of them show signs of malnutrition.
The health camps have been set up with UNICEF support as part of a major polio immunization campaign in Borno and Yobe, which have been worst-affected by violence.
Covering basic needs
Across the two states, health workers set up makeshift stands – sometimes just a few mats set out in the shade of a tree – to provide vaccinations to children, as well as basic health care services, including treatment for malnutrition.
Many of the children leave with smiles on their faces as they clutch the sweets they are given. Grown-ups receive soap, sugar and instant noodles, and medicines for those who need them.
In assisting Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and local authorities to run the campaign, UNICEF has sent more than 1,000 basic health care kits for use at the health camps, enough to cover the basic health needs of more than 400,000 people.
|© UNICEF Nigeria/2014|
|Many of the patients at the clinic in Bolori have fled the violence, and quite a few show signs of malnutrition.|
One woman said the health camps are the only place mothers like her can get drugs to treat malaria, skin infections and diarrhea. “God bless UNICEF,” she said with a smile.
Well and strong
The vaccination drive, which runs for six days, is part of a wider campaign targeting all under-5 children in 14 northern states.
Volunteers have been going door-to-door to let residents know they can get their children vaccinated and receive free treatment and medicine at the health camps.
One mother said she took her children to be immunized “because I heard that they will be protected against disease”. The woman, who declined to give her name, added, “I want my children to be well and strong.”
Nigeria, one of three countries – with Afghanistan and Pakistan – where polio remains endemic, has made major progress in battling the disease. The number of confirmed cases has dropped from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013, and three so far this year.
But continued violence and instability in the region pose a major threat to the government’s goal of stopping transmission in Nigeria this year. Nearly 50 per cent of the polio cases in 2013 were from Borno and Yobe, where some areas could not be reached because of insecurity.
During a polio vaccination campaign in May this year, more than 295,000 children, or 18 per cent of the under-5 population, could not be immunized in Borno because they live in inaccessible areas. In Yobe, access improved significantly, and only 9,343 children, or 1 per cent, were not reachable.
Insecurity in the region has escalated since 2013 . Numerous health facilities have been destroyed and health workers have been killed, forcing some local doctors to flee. As a result, access to health care has become even more difficult.
But wherever possible, immunization campaigns are held regularly, with strong involvement from the community, including polio survivors and religious and traditional leaders.
UNICEF continues to collaborate closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International and other partners in the final push to achieve the global eradication of polio.
Jul 10, 2014
Paris (AFP) - A jab to protect children against polio that fell out of favor in the 1960s should be given a frontline role to help stamp out the disease, doctors reported in The Lancet on Friday.
The injection can provide better and long-lasting protection against the polio virus when used to supplement oral vaccine, which replaced it in most countries, they said.
Oral polio vaccine (OPV) protects individuals against contracting the disease, but they can still be infected by the virus.
It replicates in the gut and can then be passed to others through faecal-contaminated water, thus imperilling unvaccinated children.
Scientists at Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, in southern India's Tamil Nadu state, investigated whether the old-fashioned vaccine still had a part to play.
Their study involved 450 children from a poor urban area of Vellore, all of whom had received the oral vaccine as part of a standard innoculation programme.
Half of the children were then given a dose of the injected vaccine, which contains an inactivated virus, and the other half given nothing.
A month later, the children were given a dose of live oral vaccine, whose formula includes a tiny amount of live polio virus, the goal being to safely simulate re-infection.
A week later, their stools were tested to see if the polio virus was present -- specifically the two strains of the virus, serotypes 1 and 3, which are resisting eradication.
Among children who had received the injected vaccine, there were 38 percent fewer who had traces of serotype 1, and 70 percent fewer with serotype 3, compared to those who did not get the jab.
"Because IPV (injected polio vaccine) is injected into the arm, rather than taken orally, it's been assumed it doesn't provide much protection in the gut and so would be less effective at preventing faecal transmission than OPV," said Jacob John of the Christian Medical College.
"However, we found that where the children already had a level of immunity due to OPV, the injected vaccine actually boosted their gut immunity," he said in a press release.
He added: "In the 1960s there was extensive rivalry between the scientists who developed the two vaccines, with OPV eventually becoming the most popular.
"But it looks as if the strongest immunity can be achieved through a combination of the two."
- Tried and trusted -
Also called the inactivated polio vaccine or the "Salk vaccine," after its inventor, Jonas Salk, who developed it in 1955, the jab has long been considered an astonishingly safe and effective weapon against polio.
It is still used in dozens of countries, but in more than 120 others, oral vaccine is the exclusive choice, as it is cheaper, easier and quicker to administer.
The new findings add support to guidelines issued in February by the UN's World Health Organization (WHO).
The agency recommended that all children receive at least one dose of injected vaccine in countries that solely use OPV, in order to broaden the attack on all serotypes of the virus.
Polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that mainly affects children under the age of five, has taken a beating from a quarter-century vaccination effort.
In 1988, the disease was endemic in 125 countries, and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide, according to the WHO.
Today, the virus is considered endemic in only three countries -- Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where the vaccination campaign has been attacked by Islamists and tribal leaders.
The refugee crisis in Syria is considered another potential source of infection, as the vaccination programme there has been disrupted by war.
Health watchdogs are worried for unvaccinated children in those countries and in neighbouring countries where the vaccination guard may have slipped.
In May, the WHO declared that polio had returned as a "public health emergency" after three cases of cross-border transmission of polio were detected between January and April -- from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Syria to Iraq and Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea.Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico
Jul 3, 2014
Emanuel Poznanski dealt with polio for most of his childhood. He overcame it, but he now suffers from PPS, a disease that can take over his life.
By LEIGH ZALESKI
Daily Record/Sunday News
Daily Record/Sunday News
York, PA -More information in Mexico City Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico
Emanuel Poznanski had 21 surgeries in the first 16 years of his life.
He received muscle transplants and joint fusions, each procedure followed by months of recovery.
During one of his last surgeries, a doctor broke his left leg -- which was an inch and a half longer than his right -- in an effort to decrease the difference.
Poznanski, 62, was born in Israel, where he contracted paralytic polio when he was 4 months old. He said his mother rushed him on a plane to the U.S. to save his life. She took him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and then to Children's Hospital Boston.
In his earliest memories, hospitals were his home. There, he lived and received most of his early education.
"I never realized I was handicapped," Poznanski said.
He's thankful for that.
About 25 percent of his muscle had been destroyed by the disease. By the time he was a teenager, he had a slight limp, but said he could walk for miles. The confinement he felt from the disease and hospitals had ended. He was ready to start living.
In 1964, when Poznanski was 14, his family moved to York County, where he attended York Suburban High School. Poznanski, who now lives in Las Vegas, visits friends in York County for two months every summer. He stays at the Cross Keys Motor Inn in New Oxford.
"It was the most formative time in my life," Poznanski said of living here. "It was the time I was the happiest."
He thought he had overcome the debilitating disease and one-time epidemic. Decades later, he would again feel the effects.
Poznanski has post-polio syndrome, a condition that affects 25 percent to 45 percent of polio survivors years after initial onset of the disease, according to Post-Polio Health International. From 1937 to 1950, 226,306 cases of paralytic and nonparalytic polio were reported.
Symptoms of PPS -- a chronic, degenerative disease -- include pain, fatigue, and breathing and swallowing problems, and can worsen over time.
Some PPS patients say they have difficulty getting the right care because their symptoms are similar to aging -- and because modern doctors don't know a lot about the disease that is no longer prevalent thanks to a 1955 vaccine.
"We're dying off," Poznanski said. "Pretty soon, there won't be any of us left."
More than a year ago, Deborah Stambaugh started a post-polio support group that meets monthly in Hanover. She said about 20 people participate to share their post-polio-related problems and resources.
Stambaugh met Poznanski this summer and said he has a wealth of knowledge.
"He's really gifted in all this," she said.
Poznanski has watched his body decline for the last 14 years, as he searches for answers beyond his reach.
In 1998, he lived in Brazil, where he ran English schools. He felt fatigued and started falling every few months. By 2003, he felt too tired to work and moved back to the U.S. with his wife. Though he knew about PPS, he didn't seek a diagnosis.
"I was in a funk," Poznanski said. "I was aloof and probably didn't want to admit it."
In 2006, he stopped walking and needed a scooter to get around. A year later, he started researching the condition, spending three to four hours a day online trying to learn more.
He was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started gaining weight because his mobility was limited. At his peak, his 5-foot-7-inch-tall frame weighed 220 pounds. He has Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure and cholesterol. To maintain his weight of 190 pounds, he said, he can eat only 1,200 calories a day because his body doesn't easily burn energy.
His neck, joints and left side ache, and his breathing is getting worse. He uses his right arm almost exclusively and has learned to swing it into certain positions so he can use it because he has no muscle in his shoulders.
Poznanski rested his left hand on his protruding stomach as he gestured with his right at a diner in New Oxford. He leaned his forearm on the table to reach his sandwich before leaning in to take a bite.
To perform everyday tasks, it takes him two to four times longer than it used to -- 15 minutes to move his body out of bed, two and a half hours to shower and 45 minutes to get dressed.
"It bores me," he said.
He brings literature about PPS to his doctors and travels to clinics and wellness camps throughout the country.
"I have to watch out for what's ahead of the curve," he said.
Dr. Andrew Schutzbank helps Poznanski manage his condition. Schutzbank, assistant medical director of Iora Health in Cambridge, Mass., said he never came across a PPS patient before Poznanski. Poznanski met Schutzbank in Las Vegas, where Schutzbank sometimes works. They communicate mostly by phone and email.
"Everything I know about PPS, I learned from Manny," Schutzbank said.
He said there's not many good resources for the condition, yet the needs of PPS patients can be great.
Schutzbank helps Poznanski take care of his general health and connects him to specialists who might be able to improve his PPS. It's his job to keep Poznanski in the fight.
He said his patient's prognosis is "some variety of poor" and that he's going to get weaker over time.
"It's a race against the clock," Schutzbank said. "Manny's key is his tenacity. He's unwilling to accept that there's no help."
Poznanski can feel his body slowing down. He said he's a 62-year-old with a 90-year-old body, yet his brain is still sharp.
This summer, he ended his trip to York County more than a month early because traveling had become too much.
"It's coming to an end," Poznanski said. "It's becoming physically difficult to keep going."
He said because people who had polio conquered so much, many feel they can overcome anything. But, he said, PPS is not something to go at alone -- patients need to seek adequate care.
"The wall, this time," Poznanski said. "It's insurmountable."
People who had polio can develop post-polio syndrome decades after they first developed paralysis or weakness. Polio patients might develop more weakness, atrophy or paralysis.
Deborah Stambaugh of Spring Grove runs a post-polio support group that meets once a month. She said the group provides an outlet for former polio patients to talk about problems they might experience today as a result of the disease.
The group will meet 2 p.m. Sept. 23 at Hanover Church of the Brethren, 601 Wilson Ave., Hanover. For details, call 717-259-9594.
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