Poliomyelitis in Transcarpathia: should we panic?

DW.COM  5 September 2015 11:25  192105722 0106765
Poliomyelitis in Transcarpathia: should we panic?

Two cases of polio - a disease that causes death or disability to children - have been confirmed in Transcarpathia. Doctors argue whether it is a deadly type of virus. Children without vaccination are in danger.

The information about the incidence of dangerous polio in Transcarpathia struck local infectious disease specialists. They do not deny that this year 12 cases of children with acute flaccid paralysis have been registered in the region. To make sure that this is not polio, samples are sent to the central laboratory "Ukrainian center for disease control and monitoring of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine" and the laboratory of the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitis named after Chumakov in Russia.

Research results: unanimous

Children diagonsed by the WHO experts with polio were admitted to local hospitals with symptoms of acute flaccid paralysis in late June and early July. Those were a one-year-old child from Rakhiv district and a four-year-old child from Tyachiv district. The chief public health physician of Transcarpathia Volodymyr Markovich says that those children were not vaccinated. In one case, because of the refusal of parents, in another one, because of constant medical contraindications. "Polio outbreak in Transcarpathian region is caused by circulating vaccine-associated type 1 virus. Although children live in different places, there is a genetic similarity of the viruses in those two cases which confirms active polio circulation in the territory of Ukraine. According to the WHO definition, it is treated as a polio outbreak," - the Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Igor Perehinets said at a press briefing on Friday, September 4.

The head of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal criticized the statements of polio outbreak in Transcarpathia. He, like most local physicians, is sure that the panic is unfounded. "Children have recovered, the elder boy goes to kindergarten. There is no threat to the population," - Moskal says.   

A panic started among parents

Instead, the WHO insist that the situation is extremely serious. The Organization has been warning of the danger of polio outbreak for the last two years. "It is important to understand that we only see the tip of the iceberg. Behind those two children with the detected polio virus, there are more than two hundred children who are carrying the virus without symptoms and each of them transmitts the virus on" - the head of the WHO in Ukraine Dorit Nitsan Kaluski warns.

Many parents in Transcarpathia, whose children are not vaccinated against polio, got quite scared after hearing the information on this disease and brought their children for vaccination. But, for example, in Mukachevo Regional Children's Hospital, there is not a single ampoule of vaccine, although the Ministry of Health states that there are two thousand doses of vaccine in stock in the region. On the other hand there are parents who believe that "all this fuss is similar to the situation with swine flu and the "Tamiflu" pills that happened several years ago. Then, after similar threatening statements, people swept those rescue drugs from the shelves of pharmacies.

Kyiv officials urge not to panic and promise to deliver the required doses of vaccine to Transcarpathia and other regions soon.   




Source - DW.COM

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