Why do we need to give Polio vaccine to children every year till the age of 5?

Why do we need to give Polio vaccine to children every year till the age of 5?

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Polio virus is a very infectious virus which spreads through fecal to oral route in countries where sanitation facilities are poor. Wild polio virus gains entry inside a susceptible child through fecal contaminated food. Virus then multiplies in the intestine of the infected child, who keep shedding it continuously through feces and in between can make others sick too. So, in case of Polio, herd immunity plays a major role . It is important to deprive the virus of susceptible hosts through vaccination. This can be done only, when the entire community is immune to the virus. It mainly causes paralysis in the growing children. In pre-vaccination era, 1 in every 200 children used to be affected by Polio. Vaccination has helped immensely to reduce the cases and even eradicate Polio altogether from major parts of world. Vaccination till the age of 5 years is required to gain complete immunity from Polio virus and also ensures herd immunity in the population.

Most infected people about 90% have no symptoms. They are just carriers. 10% will have initial symptoms of fever, fatigue, vomiting , headache and stiffness in neck and limbs pain finally leading to paralysis. This is a debilitating disease which has no cure at all. Heat and physical therapy along with antispasmodic drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms, but nothing can reverse the permanent polio paralysis. Prevention is always better than cure. In  India, Polio has been eradicated. But due to neighboring countries like Pakistan, where  wild polio virus keeps circulating, risk of Polio outbreaks is still looming.  Polio vaccination drive should be carried till the Polio is eradicated from planet. Polio vaccination till the age of 5 is mandatory in these countries.


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