Africa declared free of wild polio

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News: Africa Regional Certification Commission, an independent body has declared Africa free from wild polio.

Facts:

  • Polio: It is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus.It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. 
  • Transmission: The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or by a common vehicle (for example contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine. 
  • Symptoms: Fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs.
  • People at Risk: Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age.
  • Prevention: There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life.
  • Is Polio Eradicated? Two out of three strains of wild poliovirus have been eradicated worldwide.Africa has also been declared free of the last remaining strain of wild poliovirus.The disease is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Polio Eradication Initiative(GPEI): It is a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – WHO, Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.