Polio disease in Ukraine leaves two children paralysed

Two children are paralysed due to polio disease in southwestern Ukraine

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Two cases of the deadly polio disease appeared in Ukraine, leaving two children paralysed, five years after the first case appeared in 2010 in Europe.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) the disease appeared in Zakarpatskaya oblast, in southwestern Ukraine, on a four year old and on a 10 month old baby, as the immunisation was not carried out properly and/or did not cover the whole region.

"There are two cases of paralysis, but for sure they are not the only ones. That's one of the big dangers of the disease, there are a lot of asymptomatic cases," spokesperson for the Polio Eradication Initiative at the WHO, Oliver Rosenbaum told BBC News website. "It is now a dangerous strain,” he added.

The two children were not vaccinated, which made them weak against the disease. The virus is unlikely to produce if the vaccination process is done in the right way.

“Currently, the rate of vaccination against polio among children under a year old is only 14.1%, because of a shortage of vaccine,” said the WHO.

The lack of vaccination is related to economic crisis and the big demand of the medicine in other countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, also facing the same issue.

“Low vaccine coverage in Ukraine was initially triggered by public distrust to immunisation. This was later aggravated by insufficient vaccine supply, due to the financial crisis, and exacerbated by the ongoing conflict and large-scale population displacement in eastern Ukraine,” a spokesperson for UNICEF said.

“WHO and UNICEF are providing the ministry of health with technical and on-site support in planning and implementing large-scale supplementary immunisation activities with oral polio vaccine (OPV) to rapidly stop circulation of the virus,” said the WHO.

WHO is recommending that everyone visiting the region is fully vaccinated and that all residents and anyone staying for more than a month gets an extra dose of polio vaccine.


TRTWorld and agencies