Back in July, I wrote a letter concerning the first confirmed case of Polio in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 18 years. My hope was this could be viewed as a setback in global efforts to eradicate Polio, which makes news of 12 confirmed cases particularly distressing.
That Polio was thought eradicated in PNG in 2000 demonstrates the terrible power of this disease to return against the odds and the need to maintain vaccination levels post eradication. When you consider there were only 22 cases worldwide in 2017, it is a blow for those who hoped to see the world declared Polio free as we mark 80 years of The British Polio Fellowship in January 2019.
Only time will tell if containment zones and mass vaccination are enough to contain a virus that spreads like wildfire. We support the WHO, Rotary International and the Gates Foundation in efforts to defeat this blight. This is a warning of the importance of vaccination – lest we all see killer diseases thought vanquished coming back from the dead to haunt us.
120,000 survivors in the UK know that Polio can come back as Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) and that complacency can be a killer as much as anything else. We continue to support those who had Polio and the thousands who now live with PPS. Call us on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship