Aggressive surveillance and vaccination programs needed to combat polio — 10 things to note

A study by researchers at the University of Michigan revealed polio virus can be transmitted for extended periods of time without cases being reported. Aggressive surveillance and vaccination programs are crucial to ensure its eradication.

Here are 10 things to note:

1. In 2013, the World Health Organization reported 416 cases of polio with the virus presently prevalent in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

2. Micaela Martinez-Bakker, graduate research fellow, explains polio can have chains of silent transmission in populations for more than three years without a single case ever being cited.

3. Researchers studied the virus when it was still increasingly prevalent in the United States during the pre-vaccine era with researchers examining the ecology of polio infection.

4. Scientists originally hypothesized improved hygiene would reduce transmission and pushed the burden onto children who were more susceptible to paralytic polio.

5. University of Michigan researchers found this hypothesis incorrect, attributing the increase of polio cases in the late 1940s to rising birth rates following the commencement of WWII.

6. The reported number of polio cases in 1952 was 57,000, yet researchers found more than 3 million individuals were likely to have been infected that year.

7. These silent chains of transmission are pertinent in understanding the importance of regular identification and rapid response to polio.

8. The study on polio pre-vaccination allows researchers to establish a baseline, which will aid them in the process of eradicating the virus.

9. A study reported in Medical News Today found an extra dose of polio vaccine for children under the age of five able to accelerate the eradication of polio.

10. Once researchers believe polio has been eradicated, environmental surveillance must be increased to ensure the virus is no longer active.

For more news on infection control:
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New strategies needed to treat depression in young patients — 10 things to know

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