Reports this week that the Polio virus has been detected (and may be spreading) in Israel, is a reminder that despite the progress being made on global eradication, we cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to Polio.
Members of The British Polio Fellowship living with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) know all too well what this terrible disease can do. PPS is a neurological condition that can occur in people that have had Polio. This is when people may develop new symptoms of increasing weakness, fatigue and pain having had no change in their symptoms for some time. It can occur at any age and can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no single test for it.
The need to be vigilant when it comes to a killer still very much in our midst, however marginalised, is essential. Implementing a mass inoculation programme to reach over a million under 10s shows Israel is taking no chances. Readers may question what this means for our ‘Polio free’ country, yet while over 120,000 UK residents live with PPS, we are hardly ‘Polio free’. From people who survived Polio only to face PPS in later life, to those in the Asian community living with Polio in their families or medical professionals seeking more information on PPS – we are only a call or a click away. The British Polio Fellowship can be contacted on 0800 043 1935. Visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship