Feb 25, 2015

Could Polio Make Comeback in US?

If measles has made a comeback, could polio be far behind? Since the measles outbreak in California began to spread, health officials have been worrying that polio could also reappear.
"We have a perfect storm for polio to make a re-appearance in the American scene," Dr. Robert Daum of the University of Chicago told Chicago's CBS local news.
That's because the disease still exists in other parts of the world. Although polio has been considered eliminated in the United States since 1979 and most children are vaccinated against it, about 7 percent aren't. “We are nowhere near 100 percent coverage with the vaccine,” Daum says. "Some parents are concerned about vaccines and some kids don’t get medical care at all."
It would only take one case from overseas, where there are at least 300 cases each year, to bring polio to our shores.
"Someone could come from Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan … and be a carrier of the virus and then pass it on to people who are not vaccinated," John Hewko of Rotary International tells CBS.
What’s more, there’s an issue with the current vaccine that’s been used here since 2000: While it makes people immune to polio, they could still catch and carry the virus, passing it along to other people while not becoming ill themselves.
“The virus will, I like to say 'whistle' through the population, not causing disease until it finds someone who has not been immunized," says Daum.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Feb 23, 2015

Somalia Polio Free for 6 Months - UN Welcomes As a Breakthrough but Vaccinations to Continue

Somalia has been polio free for six months but UN says vaccination campaigns must continue as risks remain
Somalia is marking six months since the last polio case was seen in the country following an outbreak that affected 199 people, mostly children.
Polio was detected in Somalia in May 2013,for the first time in six years,after the parents of a two-year-old girl in Mogadishu found she was unable to walk. The virus, which can cause paralysis or even death, spread quickly affecting 194 people in 2013. However the number was contained to just five cases in 2014, one of them an adult who died, all in the remote Mudug region of Puntland, north-eastern Somalia. The last case was reported in Hobyo district,Mudug on 11 August 2014.
Since the outbreak began, the authorities, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF and the World Health Organization(WHO) have targeted more than2 million children under the age of five for vaccinations as well as children aged from five to 10 and adults in some areas. The vaccination campaigns began as soon as the news of the first case came out as at the time Somalia was home to the largest pool of unvaccinated children in the world with over half a million children unvaccinated for more than five years.
Despite the news,the authorities and the UN are taking a cautious approach since the task of eradication is not finished yet. Polio continues to threaten the lives of Somali children and the campaigns to eradicate polio will continue in 2015.
"It is a breakthrough that the polio outbreak has been curbed. No new cases of polio have been reported over the past six months. The vaccination campaigns have been a massive undertaking from the community level upwards and we must keep up the momentum until we are sure polio has been completely wiped out," said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini.
Somalia reported its last indigenous Wild Poliovirus (WPV) case in 2002. In 2005, the country experienced an importation of WPV of Nigerian origin, which resulted in an explosive outbreak all over the country and a total of 228 polio cases. With an intensified polio immunization response, Somalia was able to stop the circulation and reached polio free status again in 2007.
"We have defeated polio before and we will do it again," said UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier. "This is an important milestone, but there is no room for complacency. We will continue to support the Somali health authorities with the vaccination campaigns until we are certain that no more children will suffer from this highly infectious disease."
The routine immunization coverage rate in Somalia is extremely low and during the polio vaccination campaigns, the vaccinators have painstakingly gone house to house to administer the vaccine which consists of two drops in the mouth.
"The tremendous effort of Government of Somalia and its partners in containing the outbreak is highly commendable. But polio has not yet been stopped for good, and efforts must continue to ensure polio free status for children in Somalia," said Dr. Ghulam Popal, WHO Somalia Representative. "Care and vigilance are crucial to ensure that children all over Somalia are vaccinated, despite the challenges posed by inaccessibility and insecurity. In addition, strengthening surveillance systems so that polio cannot continue to be transmitted undetected, is a crucial component of moving towards polio free Somalia."
Sanitation is poor in many areas of Somalia. The polio virus is quickly transmitted through water or food contaminated with human waste from an infected person. Proper sanitation is one way to prevent it spreading.
There is no cure for polio and the vaccineis safe and effective. Children should be vaccinated several times to ensure they are protected for life and adults too can carry the virus.
Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Feb 10, 2015

Film review: 'Every Last Child'

In Tom Roberts' timely Pakistan-set documentary "Every Last Child," courageous volunteers, the World Health Organization and local police join forces to combat the Taliban's murderous opposition to polio immunization -- a problem that has led to a serious resurgence of the incurable disease that threatens to go global. Roberts examines the situation through the different perspectives of a polio-crippled beggar, the father of an afflicted toddler, a key WHO official and a family of vaccinators. Ali Faisal Zaidi's vibrant lensing unites these disparate elements, vividly foregrounding the country and its at-risk children, and extending the film's appeal beyond the merely informational.
The lifelong damage polio causes -- particularly in a country like Pakistan, with few dispensations for the disabled -- plays out graphically midway through the film as the camera tracks Habib Mehsud as he navigates the streets with enormous difficulty on a hand-wheeled bike, bemoaning his fate and finding hope only in the afterlife. Devastated father Zabih Ullah carries his afflicted baby son, whom he sees get fitted for leg braces that may help him achieve a measure of mobility and avoid a future as a beggar.
Roberts also highlights the work of Gulnaz Shesazi, who saw her niece and her sister-in-law shot to death by Taliban fanatics during a door-to-door vaccination drive, but who perseveres despite the danger. Roberts cuts back to her with other female relatives at various reprises: on an expedition to the beach, mourning at the tombs of her dead, mentoring other nieces in vaccination protocol. Her dedication and bravery register strongly, as does her matter-of-fact, completely natural approach, which cuts through any veiled exoticism that might mark her as "other." Yet these qualities fail to fully justify the extended, somewhat disproportionate time Roberts allots to her.
The bulk of "Every Last Child" focuses on the larger ongoing vaccination effort as it seeks to deal with the murders of inoculating volunteers by Taliban militants, reports of which flood TV news screens. The film opens in medias res as armed police are given a pep talk and sent out to protect vaccinators. Buses are regularly stopped at checkpoints so vaccine can be administered to the children on board, affording Roberts multiple occasions for affecting closeups of kids.
Meanwhile, at WHO headquarters, Dr. Elias Durry, head of polio eradication in Pakistan, and his adviser, Barbar bin Atta, spend frustrating hours on phones, struggling to come up with a solution to the continued Taliban attacks. One of the most fascinating aspects of Roberts' documentary concerns the extent to which both sides of the conflict deploy weapons that seem almost stereotypical in their ideological strategy.
The Taliban exploits the somewhat understandable paranoia arising from suspicion of the West, sustained by the initial connection between AIDS and polio vaccine, and newly fueled by drone attacks. It adds to that flat-out lies based on cultural fears, stating that inoculation leads to premature maturity in girls and sterility in boys. Finally, the Taliban finishes off its arguments with summary executions.
The West-centered anti-polio initiative counters with political maneuvering, tying itself to popular local politicians. It also completely revamps its image by "rebranding," dropping all references to foreign organizations and eliminating the word "polio," presenting itself instead as the dispenser of a health kit against nine diseases (polio included). Well-protected one-day campaigns replace the longer drives, and Pakistan soon sees a significant drop in polio cases. Impressive though the results of the WHO's campaign to eradicate polio may be, it is Zaidi's lensing of the streets, waterways and people of Pakistan that lingers in the mind.
Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

World War Two veteran who dedicated his life to helping Polio sufferers to receive MBE

Joseph Fisher, 92, from Gosforth has worked tirelessly to help polio sufferers ever since contracting the disease while serving in The Army

Joseph Fisher, from Gosforth is on the New Years Honours List
Joseph Fisher, from Gosforth is on the New Years Honours List
Joseph Fisher with his wife ChristineA World War Two veteran who has dedicated his life to helping Polio sufferers in the North East is set to receive an MBE from the Queen.
Joseph Fisher was 23 when he contracted Polio while serving in The Army in Burma and had to be shipped back to Britain to recover.
Three months later, left with fragile health and an uncertain future, Mr Fisher said he struggled to find his way in post-war London, where he found it difficult to hold down a job.
But, he said, he was always sure of one thing – that people with Polio can and should work.
The 92-year-old, from Gosforth, has since devoted his life to helping people who have suffered from Polio to rebuild their self-esteem and earn a living.
Mr Fisher, who will receive an MBE for services to charity and the British Polio Fellowship, has worked tirelessly to change perceptions of disabled people in the North East, masterminding a Polio hostel and training centre in Jesmond in 1954.
Joseph Fisher with his wife Christine
He said: “By the time I returned from Burma in 1946 the war was over and I was in a pretty bad way, I had 95% disability at the time and paralysis down one side of my body. I didn’t know what the future would bring, I was told I would never work again.
“But that didn’t sit well with me and within two or three months I was working in a hotel in London. I decided I was not going to let it get the better of me.
“But my health packed in again so I came back to Newcastle and helped out with the family business, my family ran a wholesale jewellers in Newcastle city centre.”
Mr Fisher, who had started attending meetings with an organisation set up for people with Polio in London, was determined to do something to help sufferers in his home town.
He said: “When I started attending meetings with the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship in London I realised I was very fortunate because I had a supportive family and wasn’t short of money.
“But a lot of people were far less fortunate than me and couldn’t make much of a life for themselves or earn a living, but I felt that just because they couldn’t walk very well didn’t mean they couldn’t do something with their hands and their brains.
“I wanted them to feel they were taking part. Very often, just a bit of TLC and understanding does wonders. Simple adaptations can make a huge difference to disabled people.”
Joseph Fisher (left) donates money
Joseph Fisher (left) donates money
Mr Fisher, who has two sons and three grandchildren, said his own experiences made him determined to prove that disabled people weren’t getting the help they needed.
After moving back to Newcastle, the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship asked him if he would set up a branch in the North East.
He took up the challenge and began a 60 year partnership that saw him transform the lives of Polio sufferers across the region and, indeed, the whole of the UK.
With the help of a £13,000 donation from RAG at Newcastle University, Mr Fisher bought a house in Jesmond and converted it into a hostel and training centre for 15-20 Polio sufferers to live and work in.
He said: “We brought people from all over to live at our purpose-built hostel with the intention of teaching them a trade. It was carrying on what I had always believed which is that these people were employable.
Joseph Fisher, from Gosforth is on the New Years Honours List and will be getting an MBE for his efforts in setting up a Hostel to help people affected with Polio
Joseph Fisher, from Gosforth is on the New Years Honours List and will be getting an MBE for his efforts in setting up a Hostel to help people affected with Polio.

“They lived in a house all together, they worked and earned a living wage, part of which they gave back to us so they felt that they were contributing.
“I gave them back their self esteem. With us, people who had recovered from the disease could get their confidence back, learn a trade, earn some money, and many of them then left us to get married and start new jobs.”
Doctors came from all over Europe to see what Joseph and his small team of dedicated volunteers were doing for Polio sufferers in Newcastle, and his revolutionary approach was replicated abroad in the years that followed.
Mr Fisher, who now suffers from Post Polio Syndrome, a hangover from the disease which causes the health of polio sufferers to deteriorate in later life, said: “People were falling like flies from this disease every year. It was a very different time.
“The mentality towards disabled people changed a bit after the work we did. It helped to change the perception of disabled people.
“And I proved what I set out to prove, that these people were employable and should be able to work.”

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Feb 5, 2015

CFDA Approves First Inactivated Sabin Vaccine

The locally produced vaccine will aid China’s efforts in polio eradication. Rebecca Tan | February 5, 2015 | Top News 

AsianScientist (Feb. 5, 2015) - The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has approved the production of the first locally-developed inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine. It is the first vaccine to be made from inactivated Sabin strains. Polio is a virus-transmitted disease that can lead to paralysis and limb deformation. Two effective vaccines currently exist, the inactivated or Salk vaccine and the attenuated or Sabin vaccine. The Salk vaccine is made from viruses that have been killed or inactivated by formaldehyde and therefore carries no risk of vaccine-induced polio. 

The Sabin vaccine, on the other hand, is a live but attenuated (weakened) virus that is administered orally. Although there is a small chance of the attenuated virus causing paralysis (one in 2.7 million), the Sabin vaccine confers long lasting protection and prevents the spread of the virus by reducing intestinal shedding. The inactivated Sabin vaccine was developed by the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. The vaccine will be administered by injection and is intended for use in children. By locally manufacturing the vaccine rather than relying on expensive imports, it is hoped that China will be able to meet the demand of several million doses a year. ——

 Source: China Food and Drug Administration; Photo: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff. Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/02/topnews/cfda-approves-inactivated-sabin-vaccine/
Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

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