What you need to know about Polio

Uganda continues to be at high risk of a Polio Outbreak due to possible Polio importation from neighbouring countries and pockets of unimmunised children.

Health workers from Kisenyi Health Centre commit to kicking Polio out of Uganda.

What is Polio?
Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by the Polio virus. It attacks the nervous system and commonly the muscles of the arms and/or legs and can cause paralysis or even death in a matter of hours.

How is Polio spread?
The Polio virus (scientifically known as the Wild Polio Virus — WPV) enters the body through the mouth, in water or food that has been contaminated with faecal material from an infected person. The virus multiplies in the intestines and is excreted by the infected person in faeces, with poor sanitation, the virus is then passed on to others.

Who is at risk of catching Polio?
Polio mainly affects unimmunised children under 5 years of age, but may also affect adults.

What are the effects of Polio?
The effects of Polio are:
• Permanent paralysis usually in the legs or arms.
• Among those paralyzed, one out of ten die when their breathing muscles stop working because of the Polio virus.

Is there a cure for Polio
No, there is no cure for Polio. Polio can only be prevented by immunisation with a safe and effective vaccine. The Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is the only way to ensure that your children are protected against Polio. It is recommended that all children complete routine immunisation doses before the age of 1 year and take supplementary doses every time they are offered in a campaign.

What is the target for mass Polio immunisation?
The mass Polio immunisation is targeting all children below 5 years of age. This mass Polio immunisation is supplementary and is not replacing routine immunization.

What will be given to the children during the house to house exercise?
Polio vaccine drops will be given in the mouth to all children below 5 years of age.

A young boy receives Oral Polio Vaccine during immunization days in Gulu District.

Why are children given Polio vaccine?
The Polio vaccine is the only way of ensuring that your children are protected against Polio. There is no cure for Polio. It is essential that every child below 5 years of age in Uganda is immunized against Polio.

Does the Oral Polio Vaccine have any side effects?
The Oral Polio Vaccine is one of the safest vaccines ever developed. It has been used all over the world to protect children against Polio, saving at least 5 million children from permanent paralysis by Polio.

Is the Oral Polio Vaccine safe for new born babies and sick children?
Yes. The Oral Polio Vaccine is safe to be given to new born babies and sick children. It is important that new born babies and sick children are also immunised during the house to house campaign because their immunity levels are lower than other healthy children’s.

Newborn baby receives polio drops during an immunisation session at Kitgum hospital

Where will mass Polio immunisation take place?
The mass Polio immunisation will take place in your home. This is a house to house exercise in all homes, in your district. All children below 5 years of age must be kept at home on designated dates of immunization to receive polio doses.

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