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Only 2 cases of poliovirus in 2021 so far: WHO

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    1st Dec, 2021


Cases of wild poliovirus continued to be on the decline across the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Only two cases of the disease were detected early this year — one in Pakistan and Afghanistan each. 


What is Polio?

  • Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age.
  • Transmission: The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
  • Types: There are three wild-types of poliovirus that cause the disease:
    • Wild Poliovirus 1 (WP1)
    • Wild Poliovirus 2 (WP2)
    • Wild Poliovirus 3 (WP3)
  • Out of the three, WPV-2 was interrupted successfully more than a decade ago.
  • Symptoms: Fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.

Polio in India

  • On February 24, 2012, the World Health Organization removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission.
  • Two years later, the South-East Asia Region of the WHO, of which India is a part, was certified as polio-free.

Serious Symptoms of the disease

A smaller proportion of people (much less than one out of 100, or 1-5 out of 1000) with poliovirus infection will develop other, more serious symptoms that affect the brain and spinal cord:

  • Paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in the legs)
  • Meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain) occurs in about 1 out of 25 people with poliovirus infection
  • Paralysis (can’t move parts of the body) or weakness in the arms, legs, or both, occurs in about 1 out of 200 people with poliovirus infection

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