Ukraine: country classified “at high risk” of polio epidemic


By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews

The European Regional Polio Eradication Certification Commission (RCC) has assessed the risk of transmission in the event of importation of wild poliovirus or emergence of vaccine poliovirus (cVDPV) in 41 countries in the region. The risk in Ukraine was classified as high.

Image / Ukrainian Ministry of Health

In the first 5 months of this year, only 30% of children in the first year of life who need mandatory vaccinations received the 3 doses of polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine coverage rate in Ukraine is insufficient to reach 95% by the end of the year. Vaccination is the only way to avoid complications caused by polio. According to WHO recommendations, if a sufficient number of people in the country are vaccinated (more than 95%), the spread of the virus will stop. Conversely, if children are not vaccinated in the country, it can lead to the spread of the virus and new cases.

Polio is an acute infectious disease. Poliovirus is spread from person to person through stool and saliva, most often through dirty hands, infected food and water.

Every unvaccinated child and adult can get polio. But children under five are the most susceptible to the polio virus. Therefore, children receive the first vaccination in the first months of life.

In 2019, more than 78% of children under one year of age were vaccinated in Ukraine. Same figure in children under 18 months. In 6-year-olds, coverage was just over 80%. Also, more than 80% of children were vaccinated in the 14-year age group.

Polio is characterized by damage to the central nervous system and paralysis that can lead to death.

Polio cannot be cured. But it is vaccination that prevents this deadly disease.

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