It is being reported that the polio virus has been discovered in samples of sewage near Sao Paulo, which is one of the locations for the soccer World Cup in Brazil. However there have been no human cases of the illness reported at this time, stated the World Health Organization on Monday. The virus discovered in the sewage and reported by Brazilian health authorities ended up being a close match to a strain that was isolated in a case in Equatorial Guinea, WHO explained. The virus was found in the sewage only but no case of polio has been reported.
Polio is a disease that attacks the body’s nervous system and may create permanent paralysis within only hours. There is no cure for the disease but it can be prevented by becoming immunized. Children that are under the age of five are the most vulnerable to the illness.
The Brazilian Health Ministry stated that the attendance of people bringing in infectious agents from other regions of the world was to be expected as a result of increased global travel. It is very important to explain that such detection does not mean any change in the epidemiological condition of Brazil or a threat to the eradication of the disease, WHO released in a statement.
Brazil has been declared as free of polio since the late 1980’s and the American regions were all slated as being clear of wild polio spread in the early 1990’s according to WHO, which has been leading a worldwide campaign to eliminate polio for many years.
Brazil’s last nationwide immunization campaign was held about one year ago and immunization coverage in Sao Paulo state is reported to be higher than 95 percent, stated WHO, adding that the high record of immunity is what appears to have stopped the possible transmission. The United Nations said that it had assessed the hazard of additional international spreading of the polio virus from Brazil and it feels that transmission would be very low but from Equatorial Guinea could be considered as high.
Because of the local population’s high polio immunity, that helped to prevent transmission of the disease. The entire country of Brazil has high vaccination coverage rates. WHO wanted to make sure that it was known the virus was found only in sewage and following investigations of related samples have been either negative for the virus or only showing positive for what is called non-polio entero-viruses, the organization explained.
As was stated above, WHO said that the chance of the polio virus moving from Equatorial Guinea was described as high by the United Nations, but the risk from Brazil was very low. Polio is a disease that invades the body’s nervous system and may create permanent paralysis within only a few hours. There is no cure for the illness but it can be prevented by immunization. People need to make sure they are up to date on their shots, especially if they travel overseas.
Brazil had a nation-wide immunization campaign about one year ago, therefore coverage in Sao Paulo state is considered to be higher than 95 percent, stated WHO.
By Kimberly Ruble
Med City News