Getting to Know Polio the Disease That Was Feared in His Time

Getting to Know Polio the Disease That Was Feared in His Time – Getting to Know Polio the Disease That Was Feared in His Time. Recently, the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) announced the findings of polio cases. The polio case occurred in a 7-year-old child in Aceh. The existence of the polio case made the Ministry of Health determine it as an Extraordinary Event or KLB.

Long before a vaccine was discovered, polio was a very feared disease. Polio causes a person to experience paralysis and some others use a respirator. Here’s the explanation!

1. Getting to know polio

Polio is a highly contagious disease. Reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), polio most often infects children under five years of age. Polio disease attacks the nervous system, causing spinal and respiratory paralysis. In addition, some cases of polio resulted in death.

Polio is a disease caused by a virus. The virus is most commonly transmitted by the faecal-oral route. In addition, the polio virus can also be transmitted through contaminated food or water.

2. There was an outbreak of polio

Polio is thought to have existed since prehistoric times. This is known based on ancient Egyptian drawings. Images from ancient Egypt show children walking on sticks with the withered limbs characteristic of the disease. Polio has affected children for thousands of years around the world.

Reported by the Mayo Clinic, there were several polio epidemics between 1948 and 1955 before the discovery of the polio vaccine. This made many people avoid crowds and public gatherings for fear of contracting polio. In addition, some parents forbid their children from playing with new friends and regularly check on their children’s condition.

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3. Polio causes paralysis and death

WHO says, many people who are able to survive polio have to face lifelong disabilities. Paralyzed limbs cause them to need leg supports, crutches, or wheelchairs. In addition, some of them experience paralysis of the respiratory muscles so that they need a breathing apparatus called an iron lung.

Frequent outbreaks made polio the world’s most feared disease in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The polio epidemic caused 2000 people to die in New York City in 1916, while a worse outbreak occurred in the United States where 3000 people died in 1952. The absence of a cure and increasing cases made vaccines an urgent need.

4. Discovery of the polio vaccine

Doctor Jonas Salk made the first polio vaccine in the early 1950s, namely the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). Annual cases from 58 thousand fell to 5600 in 1957 and the remaining 161 cases in 1961.

Furthermore, the second type of polio vaccine, namely the oral polio vaccine (OPV) was developed by a doctor and microbiologist named Albert Sabin in 1961. The vaccine he found was in the form of an attenuated virus and was given orally or in drops. The success of the polio vaccine made the number of polio cases decrease.

5. Hope to eradicate polio worldwide

In 1988, the World Health Assembly or the World Health Assembly made a resolution to eradicate polio in the world. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was formed, spearheaded by the government, WHO, Rotary International, CDC, UNICEF, and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

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Since 1988, the number of cases of wild polio has decreased by more than 99 percent, from approximately 350 thousand cases in more than 125 endemic countries to 175 cases reported in 2019 and 6 cases reported in 2021. Currently, only 2 countries are endemic to the virus wild polio, namely Pakistan and Afghanistan. The WHO Southeast Asia region was certified polio-free in 2014, including Indonesia.

Polio is a disease that attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis of the limbs or breathing. Before the discovery of vaccines, polio was a disease that was feared because it caused disability and was life threatening. The administration of the polio vaccine, which has been intensified throughout the world, has reduced polio cases.

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