Polio vaccine policy may change
POLIO QUICK FACTS
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a viral infection that may
lead to paralysis and death. It is caused by three closely
related viruses and is most commonly spread by direct contact
with infected individuals.
A vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in the 1950s has
virtually eliminated polio from most of the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a goal of global
eradication of polio by the year 2000.
In 1994, the WHO declared the Americas free of polio. The
last case was reported in Peru in 1991.
In 1995, 78 percent of children around the world had received
at least three doses of polio vaccine in their first year,
and half of the world's youngest children were immunized in
mass vaccination campaigns.
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization
June 16, 1999
Web posted at: 10:08 a.m. EDT (1408 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland
(CNN) -- U.S. health officials are expected to vote Wednesday on a new polio vaccine policy. Although polio is considered eradicated in the United States, each year since 1979 a handful of children have contracted the crippling disease from the vaccine.
Those with vaccine-associated polio contract it from the oral (live virus) vaccine.
In 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended changes in the polio vaccine schedule in order to lower children's risk of contracting the disease.
Under the new guidelines, children are to be given two killed-virus injections, followed by two live-virus oral vaccines. But these changes are not mandatory, and families with children who suffered vaccine-associated polio say the changes haven't gone far enough.
"It's well known that the oral polio vaccine very rarely causes paralytic polio. It's not a common event, fortunately it only occurs five to 10 times per
year in the United States," said Dr. Tom Chalk, Children's Medical Group of Atlanta.
Parents of children with vaccine-related polio have banded together to urge the CDC to recommend dropping the oral vaccine completely in favor of using the injectable vaccine.
Health officials have been reluctant to eliminate the oral vaccine because it does a better job fighting wild polio, but that threat may soon disappear. Experts expect to reach their goal of eradicating polio worldwide by the end of 2000.
India wages war on polio
May 24, 1999
Agency says polio can be wiped out by 2000
May 2, 1998
CDC changes polio-vaccine guidelines for children
January 23, 1997
Panel urges changes in polio vaccine
June 21, 1996
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Polio Prevention and Vaccination Information
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