Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How can polio be prevented?

How can polio be prevented?

Although polio essentially has been eradicated in the US since 1979 and in the Western Hemisphere since 1991, children and adults in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan are still contending with the disease. There are two vaccines available to fight polio - inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). 

IPV, which consists of a series of injections beginning two months after birth and continuing until a child is 4 to 6 years old, is provided to most children in the United States. The vaccine is created from inactive poliovirus, but it is very safe and effective and cannot cause polio. OPV is created from a weakened or attenuated form of poliovirus, and it is the vaccine of choice in many countries because of its low cost, ease of administration, and ability to provide excellent immunity in the intestine. OPV, however, has been known to revert to a dangerous form of poliovirus that is able to paralyze its victim. 

Polio vaccinations or boosters are highly recommended in anyone who is not vaccinated or is unsure if she is vaccinated. 

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