Polio continues to remain a public health emergency

With the continued risk of international spread, WHO has announced that polio will remain a public health emergency for three more months. Polio was declared as public health emergency of international concern in 2014 and has continued to remain one since then. Based on the risk of international spread of poliovirus, the World Health Organization … Continue reading Polio continues to remain a public health emergency

Focus must be on reducing vaccine-associated polio cases

Now that wild poliovirus type 3 has been officially declared as eliminated, the only way to reduce the risk of vaccine-associated polio cases is by switching over to oral vaccine containing only type 1 or making polio vaccine injection as part of the national immunisation programme. The world polio day on October 24 marked an … Continue reading Focus must be on reducing vaccine-associated polio cases

India eradicated wild polio virus but at what cost

Despite oral polio vaccine causing vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) and vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) cases, India did not switch over from OPV to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). While circulating VDPV strains are tracked, and outbreaks and cases recorded, little is known about VAPP cases. The justification that VAPP cases are “sporadic and pose little or no … Continue reading India eradicated wild polio virus but at what cost

Polio outbreaks in Congo raise global concern

The polio endgame is proving to be much more challenging with 28 children becoming paralysed by the circulating type 2 vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has spread to five more provinces since June 2017. And there are three different polio outbreaks in the country. Efforts to immunise all children have failed, and … Continue reading Polio outbreaks in Congo raise global concern

Number of wild poliovirus cases drop in Pakistan, Afghanistan

In the last six months, there have been only eight wild-type poliovirus (type 1 and type 3) cases reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, down from 32 cases during the same period last year. “The overall situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has significantly improved in common corridors of transmission,” says a summary report of a April … Continue reading Number of wild poliovirus cases drop in Pakistan, Afghanistan

Top health stories of 2016

On the health front, the year 2016 witnessed a few setbacks and but also a few positive developments. Here are the most important health developments of 2016 1. Trial results confirm Ebola vaccine provides high protection The Ebola virus that killed more than 11,300 people in three West African countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra … Continue reading Top health stories of 2016

When the media created the ‘wild’ type-2 polio virus

The last case of wild type-2 poliovirus was seen in West Bengal way back in 1999.  Since then no child in the world has been stuck by wild type-2 poliovirus nor has the virus been seen in the environment anywhere in the world. This is the reason why the Global Polio Eradication Initiative says that … Continue reading When the media created the ‘wild’ type-2 polio virus

Global ‘switch’ to reduce vaccine-derived polio cases

Beginning Monday, April 25, India will stop using the oral polio vaccine (OPV) with all three strains of the poliovirus (type 1, type 2 and type 3) and instead use OPV vaccines with only two strains — type 1 and type 3. The global vaccine “switch”, from trivalent to bivalent OPV, has been recommended by … Continue reading Global ‘switch’ to reduce vaccine-derived polio cases

IPV vaccine boost to India’s polio fight

After nearly five polio-free years, and with the launch of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) injection in the national immunisation programme tomorrow (November 30), India will be pushing for “endgame polio”. The injectable vaccine, which uses killed polio viruses, will be used alongside the oral polio vaccine (OPV). For now, immunisation using IPV will be … Continue reading IPV vaccine boost to India’s polio fight

‘We are fighting a war against polio without a General’

A 10-month-old baby in Beed district, Maharashtra who was recently diagnosed of polio caused by the vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) type 2 turns the spotlight on the shortcomings of using a live, weakened polio virus in oral polio vaccine. Dr. T. Jacob John, member of the WHO committee on global polio eradication, in an email to … Continue reading ‘We are fighting a war against polio without a General’