New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Polio is a fatal infectious disease, with no cure but with the help of an effective vaccine, it can be prevented. One of the major examples of the countries which were able to catch hold of this illness is India. Yes, our country went polio-free a few years back through immunization.

To raise awareness for vaccination and eradication of polio, World Polio Day was established. In 1955, Jonas Salk, the American researcher, led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. To commemorate his birth Rotary international established World Polio Day. Annually World Polio Day is observed on October 24.

What is polio?

Polio has crippled millions of lives and claimed several lives too. Despite the availability of the effective vaccine, this preventable viral disease has impacted a huge number of lives world wide. Polio is also called as poliomyelitis. It spreads through contaminated food and water and this disease gives severe symptoms of paralysis, may lead to permanent disability, many times it is fatal too. It can be spread through the feces of an infected individual.

World Polio Day: Significance

World Polio Day offers an opportunity to renew the commitment to eradicate polio, globally. The goal of eradication of polio was first adopted in 1988 and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI ) was established. Oral poliovirus was developed by Albert Sabin in 1961, which led to the establishment of GPEI. In 1961 first monovalent oral vaccine was developed which was followed by the trivalent oral polio vaccine in 1963. As of 2013, GPEI had minimised polio worldwide by 99%. Today five out of six WHO regions are certified free of polio. The last stronghold of this poliovirus is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

To sustain the polio-free status, it is essential to vaccinate all children as per national routine immunization schedules and immediate action is required to be taken if a polios case is detected.

World Polio Day is an ideal time to raise public awareness regarding the devastating effects of polio on children and efforts to eradicate it.

World Polio Day: Theme 2021

The theme of this year is " One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio - delivering on our promise of a polio-free world". It is a promise of a polio-free world for current and future generations.

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal