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PolioVirus: Polio found in London, New York and Jerusalem

Polio- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to- Health.

Indian Polity


Polio Virus in News

  • Recently, Polio, a deadly disease, is found to be spreading in London, New York and Jerusalem for the first time in decades, spurring catch-up vaccination campaigns.
  • Vaccine-derived polio was detected in wastewater in the British capital, London, and in New York in the United States, with one case of paralysis reported in New York state.
  • Genetically similar virus has also been found in Jerusalem, Israel, and scientists are working to understand the link.


Causes of Recent Polio Outbreak

  • After COVID Travel: While countries including the Britain and the United States no longer use Polio live vaccine.
    • However, other countries do use live polio vaccine to stop outbreaks which allows for global spread, particularly as people began to travel again after COVID-19.
  • Under-Vaccinated Population: experts agree that the major driver behind both vaccine-derived and wild polio outbreaks remains under-vaccinated populations.
  • COVID-19 & Vaccine Hesitancy: According to UN, Vaccine hesitancy was a growing problem before the pandemic, then COVID-19 caused the worst disruption to routine immunization in a generation.
    • In 2020, there were 1,081 vaccine-derived polio cases, around three times as many as the previous year.
    • In 2022 so far, there have been 177 cases, after major efforts to get polio vaccination campaigns back on track.



  • About: Polio is a deadly viral infectious disease that used to paralyze tens of thousands of children every year by affecting nervous system of the patient.
  • Polio Type: Polio can be categorized following three immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains-
    • Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)
    • Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2)
    • Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3)
  • Symptoms: Affecting mainly children under five, Polio is often asymptomatic but can also cause symptoms including fever and vomiting.
  • Impact: Around one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, and among those patients, up to 10% die.
  • Prevention and Cure: There is no cure of Polio, but since a vaccine was found in the 1950s, polio is entirely preventable.
  • Present Status: Globally, the wild form of the disease has almost disappeared.
    • Afghanistan and Pakistan are now the only countries where the highly infectious disease, spread mainly through contact with faecal matter, remains endemic.
    • But this year, imported cases were also found in Malawi and Mozambique, the first in those countries since the 1990s.
  • Polio in India: After three years of zero cases, India received polio-free certification by the WHO in 2014.
    • The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13th January 2011.
    • Pulse Polio Campaign is considered as the major Indian initiative that led to elimination of Polio in India.

WHO Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

WHO Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

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