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Ukraine has officially confirmed a case of polio in a small child

6 October 2021

In Ukraine, a case of paralysis was recorded and confirmed, which was recorded in a 1.5-year-old child from the Rivne oblast. The disease is caused by a derivative of the vaccine strain poliovirus type 2 (Sabin 2). Parents deliberately refused vaccinations provided for by medical standards because of their religious beliefs.

The first symptoms appeared on September 1, and on September 3, the child was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of paresis of the lower extremities. The health and epidemiological surveillance system immediately worked according to the protocol and international standards: the case was registered as suspected polio — acute flaccid paralysis and provided with the necessary examination and observation to clarify the circumstances. A team of epidemiologists and virologists from the National Center for public health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is already working in the region. They carry out priority work to respond to an epidemic threat: search for contact persons, collect and analyze their biomaterials, study the circumstances of the case in detail, etc.

Polio is an acute infectious disease. Poliovirus is spread from person to person through feces and saliva, most often through dirty hands, infected food, and water.

Every unvaccinated child and adult can get polio. But children under the age of five are most susceptible to the polio virus. Therefore, children receive their first vaccination in the first months of life.

Symptoms: in most cases, the disease first proceeds unnoticed, which worsens the patient's chances of recovery, then signs appear that are different in nature, depending on the form of the virus. The incubation period of the disease is 2-35 days, more often 7-14 days.

The following types of diseases are classified: with and without damage to the central nervous system (CNS). It should be noted that even atypical polio (without damage to the CNS) can greatly harm the patient.

All of them pose a significant threat to an unvaccinated person and cause irreversible processes that can lead to the death of the patient.

Since November 2020, the polio outbreak continues in Tajikistan, and additional immunization tours of the entire child population are currently being conducted. The wild polio virus continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

You can read more about polio on the website of the Center for Public Health.

The level of polio vaccination coverage (children under 1 year of age, polio-3) in 2021 is insufficient, for 8 months of 2021 is 53.0 %. At this rate, it will not be possible to achieve the 95% required for collective immunity by the end of the year without taking additional measures.

Low levels are in the following oblasts of Ukraine: Kherson - 40.7 %, Ivano-Frankivsk — 42.2 %, Zakarpattia — 43.1 %, Zaporizhzhia — 46.2 %, Kharkiv — 46.5 %, Odessa and Kyiv oblasts — 47.5 %. In Chernivtsi and Lviv — 48.5% each, in Rivne — 48.9 %.

In Ukraine, there are a sufficient number of effective vaccines that are purchased at the expense of the state budget.

In 2015, Ukraine went through the path of eliminating the polio outbreak, the measures lasted more than 2 years.

The Ministry of Health of Ukraine calls on the heads of regions to analyze the implementation of the volume of preventive vaccinations in subordinate territories, including against polio, and instruct the heads of structural divisions of healthcare to develop measures to increase the level of coverage of preventive vaccinations of the population provided for in the vaccination calendar and personally keep the implementation under control.

Where, when and who should be vaccinated?

It is necessary to vaccinate against polio since the birth of the baby. Vaccinations must be carried out in a comprehensive manner, without skipping any to increase the body's resistance to the disease.

  • 1 dose - 2 months of the child's life.
  • 2 dose - 4 months.
  • 3 dose - 6 months.
  • 4 dose - 18 months.
  • 5 dose - 6 years.
  • 6 dose - 14 years.

Free polio vaccination is carried out by your family doctor or pediatrician in public medical institutions, as well as private ones that have signed contracts with the National Health Service of Ukraine.

The only way to protect yourself and your children from the consequences of this disease is vaccination, since there is no specific treatment. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine recommends reading the calendar of preventive vaccinations here.

If your medical institution does not have a vaccine, contact the chief physician of the medical facility to find out the cause. If the chief medical officer is unable to provide the necessary information, please contact the Department/Office of Health in your area:

Answers to the most common questions about polio vaccination

Do I need to vaccinate my breastfed baby?

Yeah. Breastfeeding is extremely important and good for the baby's health, but mother's milk does not protect the baby from polio.

Can children with chronic diseases be vaccinated against polio?

It is very important to vaccinate children with chronic diseases, as they are more vulnerable to infections.

True contraindications to oral polio vaccine vaccination are extremely rare. They can be determined by your doctor. Contraindications for a period of more than two weeks can only be determined by the immunological commission.

Why is it so important that all children are vaccinated?

If enough people in the country are vaccinated (more than 95 %), the spread of the virus will stop. Conversely, if children remain unvaccinated in the country, it can lead to the spread of the virus and new cases of the disease.

The Ministry of Health calls on parents to vaccinate their children against polio on time and make up for missed vaccinations.