World Polio Day 2019: History, Significance and Facts

World Polio Day is celebrated on 24 October annually to raise awareness about the polio disease and efforts for eradication. Let us read more about World Polio Day, history and some facts regarding polio disease.
Oct 24, 2019 11:14 IST
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World Polio Day
World Polio Day

Polio is a highly contagious viral infectious disease which can lead to paralysis, breathing problem or even death. In medical terms, it is known as poliomyelitis. It can occur with or without symptoms. Let us tell you that around 95% of cases are asymptomatic and between 4 and 8 percent of cases are symptomatic.

World Polio Day highlights the importance of polio vaccination and measures to eradicate it. A small-town village in Scotland, Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum will be illuminating the Town Hall with Purple colour. This colour supports the campaign of vaccination and those who are vaccinated have to dip their little finger in purple colour. According to the statement of the World Health Organisation (WHO) events will be organised at the city of Cairo, the capital of Egypt to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

In India, in several hospitals, schools, organisations, etc polio drives are expected to organise. People are motivated and information is provided about the simple method of immunisation and how it saves them from a lifelong disability.

15 Unknown facts about Viruses

World Polio Day: History

Rotary International established the World Polio Day over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. The use of inactivated vaccine of poliovirus and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus which was developed by Albert Sabin led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. According to WHO, by 2013, GPEI had reduced polio worldwide by 99%. Polio is a fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but due to safe and effective vaccines, it can be prevented. That is through immunisation it can be prevented. For eradication of polio, the strategy was to provide immunisation to almost every child until transmission stops and to make world polio-free.

Facts about Polio

- Polio is caused by poliovirus and most of the time polio infections present no symptoms.

- Women who are pregnant are more susceptible to polio.

- Polio can spread easily from person to person.

- Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in which polio is still prevalent.

- Non-paralytic polio is known as abortive poliomyelitis which leads to flu-like symptoms and these symptoms last for a few days or weeks.

- In Paralytic polio, the virus enters motor neurons where it replicates and destroys the cells. These cells are present in the spinal cord, brain stem, or motor cortex. These areas of brain are important in controlling movements.

- Paralytic polio is classified as Spinal polio, Bulbar polio, and Bulbospinal polio.

- There are two vaccines for polio namely, Inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV).

Therefore, Polio is an infectious disease which can be spread from person to person and may lead to paralysis, breathing problem or even death. For polio eradication, World Polio Day is observed on 24 October every year.

Important Days and Dates in October 2019

Important days in 2019 year: National and International