From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Polio and its vaccine
Mains level : Pulse Polio Programme
The beginning of this year’s Pulse Polio Programme was inaugurated from the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself. To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) mandatory for those travelling between India and polio-affected countries.
The Pulse Polio Programme
- India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.
- Children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub-national immunisation rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
India is polio-free
- According to the Ministry of Health, the last polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal in January 2011.
- The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.
- Two years later, the South-East Asia Region of the WHO, of which India is a part, was certified as polio-free.
What is Polio?
- The WHO defines polio or poliomyelitis as a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.
- 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 can cause paralysis.
- Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
- There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.