Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity: Study

Polio has been wiped out of many countries thanks to massive use of oral vaccine. But new research suggests trying a one-two punch where the disease is still a threat: Giving a single vaccine shot to children who’ve already gotten the drops boosted their immunity.

Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity

World Health Organization officials say the combination strategy could help finally eradicate polio.

Which vaccine works best has long been debated. They each have different strengths. Wealthy countries today use only injected polio vaccine, but the oral version is used in developing countries because it is cheaper, easier to administer and better at stopping virus transmission.

Thursday’s study tested nearly 1,000 children in India who had previously received several oral vaccinations and found giving a shot was a better booster dose than more oral drops.

SourcE: US news

14 lakh children do not live beyond the age of five: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said, “It is a national shame that 14 lakh children do not live beyond the age of five. To change this reality the government needs the collective energy of the people, and should not rely on the government machinery.”

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan addresses press at Patna Airport on June 20, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Speaking here at the launch of a music video, ‘Phool Khil Jayenge’ (The flower will bloom), on the subject of immunization, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Let’s make a pledge here to become ‘health sainiks’ and each of us would strive to inspire other ordinary people to become health volunteers to work for a healthy nation.”

In 1994, Dr Harsh Vardhan, in his capacity of Delhi’s Health Minister, had motivated hundreds of school children to become “polio sainiks” with the task of seeking out families with small children who needed polio immunization. It was their commitment and sincerity which resulted in the success of the first pulse polio day in Indian history –October 2, 1994.

“Today we are poised to replicate India’s success with polio eradication which was brought about by the unrequited and unpaid labour of thousands of people. We need more such heroes and heroines to make Universal Immunization in India a success,” the health minister said.

The music video, which emphasises the importance of providing immunity from disease to a child through timely inoculation, was made by Global Health Strategies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The lyrics have been penned by Javed Akhtar, and the video features Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar. The music is by Lalit Pandit and the song is sung by Sonu Nigam.

Source: India medical Times

Polio-Free Countries Still Face Threat, Scientists Say

An outbreak of polio in a previously polio-free region of China shows that the crippling, potentially deadly disease will remain a global threat as long as the poliovirus circulates anywhere in the world, scientists say.

Researchers who investigated the outbreak of polio in the Chinese province of Xingjian in 2011 found the infection was caused by a poliovirus that originated in Pakistan, according to the study published today (Nov. 20) in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“Global eradication of poliomyelitis will benefit all countries, even those that are currently free of poliomyelitis,” the researchers wrote in their study.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a highly contagious and incurable viral infection of the nervous system. While some people recover completely, the virus causes lifelong paralysis in one out of every 200 cases.

In the 1980s, the virus killed or paralyzed around 350,000 people worldwide each year. But now, due to vaccination campaigns, the disease is eradicated in most parts of the world. Polio remains endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2012, about 220 cases were reported worldwide, and almost all were in these countries.

Despite the progress, imported poliovirus has caused outbreaks in some previously polio-free countries in recent years, and scientists have found that the virus is circulating in some regions that had previously been declared polio-free, the researchers said.

In October, an outbreak of polio that affected at least 22 people was reported in Syria, and was a setback for a country that had a vaccination rate of 95 percent and was polio-free for 14 years. The outbreak is possibly being fueled by disrupted vaccinations amid the ongoing civil war in the country.

Experts warned that the disease might reach Europe as well, especially in regions where vaccination coverage is not sufficiently high; for example, Austria (83 percent) and Ukraine (74 percent). The World Health Organization recommends a target vaccination rate of 90 percent.

The outbreak in China struck in 2011, and affected about 40 people, according to the new study. A public health emergency was declared in Xinjiang, and health practitioners closely watched for any new case of sudden paralysis or “acute flaccid paralysis,” the signature symptom of polio, the researchers said.

Five rounds of vaccination with oral poliovirus vaccine were conducted among children and adults in the region, and the outbreak was stopped six weeks after the first case had been confirmed by lab results.


“The response most likely prevented poliomyelitis from spreading to other parts of China,” but given the fact the poliovirus still circulates in parts of the world, immunization and surveillance efforts should be boosted, the researchers said.

Source: one news page