Today is World Polio Day, 24 hours which aim to raise awareness of the continued battle against polio and its long term effects – Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) – both overseas and in the UK.
Polio is still not eradicated, with its highest levels of prevalence in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Within the UK, awareness of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is very low and the legacy of polio continues to live on, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
World Polio Day is focussed on working towards the total eradication of polio as well as supporting those living with polio and PPS across the globe.
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of polio and PPS.
Facts about polio and PPS:
• Around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of polio or PPS today – that’s the same number as those with Parkinson’s disease
• Polio is an infectious disease that can invade the central nervous system, destroying or damaging the nerve cells that control muscle movement and potentially leading to muscle paralysis
• PPS is an incurable neurological condition which occurs in around 80% of people who have had polio
• PPS is classified (G14) by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a disease of the central nervous system that is “an irreversible and incurable clinical situation in relation to the progressive dysfunction of the motor units”
• After an interval of several years of stability, individuals with PPS develop increasing weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, reduced stamina, breathing problems and cold intolerance
• Only 18 per cent of GPs know how to treat PPS once diagnosed and it takes an average of six years to be diagnosed
• Polio is close to being eradicated worldwide however, it is still prevalent in countries such as Afghanistan, . Nigeria and Pakistan. Non-vaccinated travellers to these countries are at risk of contracting the poliovirus and importing it into a polio-free country such as the UK
Further information about the British Polio Fellowship and details on how to make a donation can be found at www.britishpolio.org.uk or by calling 0800 018 0586.