A History Of Polio In Canada
“When I got sick, my mother knew immediately what had happened and got me into the hospital,” he said.
Morton, an assistant curator at the Manitoba Museum who has studied polio epidemics in the province, said given outbreaks typically happened in the summer, debates raged over whether to close swimming pools and delay school openings in the fall.
Some doctors even discussed the same dilemmas faced by those in the worst-hit COVID-19 countries: which patients to save and which to let die because there was not enough equipment to go around.
There was not, however, the same kind of large-scale economic impact, Morton said. Unlike today, many businesses remained open. There are lessons to be drawn from polio, she said, including how people supported one another.
“I think this kind of community togetherness that you see in times of epidemics is a really important lesson,” Morton said.
“There’s a lot of fear and we’re being asked to socially distance ourselves from people, but we still need to work together as communities. You saw that with polio, and I think you’re really seeing that today with COVID-19 as well.”
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Do People Still Get Polio In The United States
No, thanks to a successful vaccination program, the United States has been polio-free for more than 30 years, but the disease still occurs in other parts of the world. It would only take one person with polio traveling from another country to bring polio back to the United States.
Children who will be traveling to a country where the risk of getting polio is greaterexternal icon should complete the series of shots before leaving for their trip. If a child cannot complete the routine series before leaving, a polio accelerated schedule is recommended.
How Can Parents Pay For Polio Vaccine
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. However, you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. Learn how to pay for vaccines.
If you dont have health insurance, or if your insurance doesnt cover vaccines for your child, the Vaccines for Children Program may be able to help. This program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC website or ask your childs doctor. You can also contact your state VFC coordinator.
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Spectrum Of Clinical Illness
Most polio infections have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that can go unrecognized. In symptomatic persons, initial symptoms can include fever, fatigue, headache and vomiting. With increased disease severity, severe muscle pain and stiffness of the neck and back with or without paralysis may occur. Paralysis is generally asymmetric, dependent on the site of nerve cell damage, and commonly occurs 7 to 14 days after infection. Weakness or paralysis still present 60 days after onset is usually permanent. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Although paralysis is the most visible sign of polio infection, less than 1% of cases result in paralysis. Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die due to respiratory failure.
Adults who contracted paralytic poliovirus during childhood may develop a non-infectious post-polio syndrome 30 to 40 years after recovery. Post-polio syndrome is characterized by a slowly progressive muscle weakness and pain and on occasion, muscle atrophy as well as breathing and swallowing difficulties.
At What Age Must Polio Drops Be Administered
Polio is an incurable disease caused by the viral infection. It often affects the young children, paralyses their limbs for life. Therefore, preventing this disease is the only option.
“From the newborn babies till they become 5-year-old, they should be vaccinated for polio. The younger the baby, higher is the risk of getting the infection. So we recommend to have repeated vaccination for the kids,” explains Dr Gowda.
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Children Receive First Polio Vaccine
On February 23, 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.
Though not as devastating as the plague or influenza, poliomyelitis was a highly contagious disease that emerged in terrifying outbreaks and seemed impossible to stop. Attacking the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, polio caused muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death. Even as medicine vastly improved in the first half of the 20th century in the Western world, polio still struck, affecting mostly children but sometimes adults as well. The most famous victim of a 1921 outbreak in America was future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a young politician. The disease spread quickly, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed.
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In the late 1940s, the March of Dimes, a grassroots organization founded with President Roosevelts help to find a way to defend against polio, enlisted Dr. Jonas Salk, head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Salk found that polio had as many as 125 strains of three basic types, and that an effective vaccine needed to combat all three. By growing samples of the polio virus and then deactivating, or killing them by adding a chemical called formalin, Salk developed his vaccine, which was able to immunize without infecting the patient.
What Is Polio Vaccine
Polio vaccine offers protection against polio infection. Polio is a virus found in the nose and throat. It is spread by coughing, sneezing and sharing drink bottles. It infects the bowel and can attack the nervous system. In severe cases it may cause paralysis and even death. Polio has disappeared from New Zealand and most parts of the world as a result of immunisation. However, there is still a risk that polio could enter New Zealand from overseas.Read more about polio.Polio vaccine works by making your immune system produce special cells called antibodies that will attack and kill the polio virus when it enters your body. This means that if you get infected, these protective antibodies are already in your bloodstream to quickly fight off the germs.Being vaccinated causes your body to produce antibodies against the polio virus. This means your body can respond faster and more effectively to prevent an infection. It does this because by first coming across a non-infectious version of the virus in the vaccine, it learns to recognise it. When it comes across it again, your body can react much faster and in a more effective way.
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How Does Polio Spread
Poliovirus is very contagious. It spreads through contact with:
- the stool of an infected person.
- droplets from a sneeze or cough of an infected person.
If you get stool or droplets from an infected person on your hands and you touch your mouth, you can get infected. Also, if your child puts objects, like toys, that have stool or droplets on them into their mouth, they can get infected.
An infected person may spread the virus to others immediately before and up to 2 weeks after symptoms appear.
- The virus may live in an infected persons stool for many weeks. He or she can contaminate food and water when they touch it with unwashed hands.
- People who dont have symptoms can still pass the virus to others and make them sick.
Polio Vaccination: Who Needs It
CDC is working with partners in Colorado to investigate reports of 10 children hospitalized for acute neurologic illness with limb weakness of unknown cause. These children are being tested for poliovirus, West Nile virus, and enteroviruses. Investigations into these and other possible infectious and non-infectious causes are ongoing. See CDC Health Advisory Notice .
Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system.
There are two types of vaccine that can prevent polio: inactivated polio vaccine and oral polio vaccine . Only IPV has been used in the United States since 2000 however OPV is still used throughout much of the world.
IPV is a shot, given in the leg or arm, depending on age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
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Safety Checks Before Immunization
Your nurse will talk to you about your childs health history before giving your child any vaccines. This will include questions about any medicines your child is taking, health conditions your child has or is experiencing, as well as any allergies your child may have. Your nurse will guide you on what is safe for your child, based on your childs health history.
When your nurse talks to you about your childs health history, it is important that you inform your nurse if your child:
- is sick or has a fever greater than 38.5 C
- has allergies to any part of the vaccine
- is allergic to any foods, drugs, bee stings, etc.
- has a weakened immune system
- has had an allergic reaction or other severe or unusual reaction to this or other vaccines in the past
Your nurse will guide you on what is safe for your child, based on your childs health history.
PLEASE NOTE: Your child should NOT get the vaccine if he/she has had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine in the past.
Salk Poliomyelitis Vaccine Trial
Despite widespread concern over testing the vaccine on live human subjects, the studies continued. In the early 1950s, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis funded a study by Dr. Jonas Salk and his team of researchers. They planned to try three different strains of injectable, inactive-virus vaccines on humans.
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What Are The Risks From Ipv
Some people who get IPV get a sore spot where the shot was given. The vaccine used today has never been known to cause any serious problems, and most people dont have any problems at all with it.
However, a vaccine, like any medicine, could cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. The risk of a polio shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Vaccine Safety And Adverse Events
Refer to Adverse events following immunization Part 2 for additional general information. Refer to Diphtheria Toxoid, Tetanus Toxoid, Pertussis Vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b Vaccine and Hepatitis B Vaccine in Part 4 for additional information regarding other components in IPV-containing combination vaccines.
Common and local adverse events
Adverse events following IPV vaccine are usually limited to mild injection site reactions.
Less common and serious or severe adverse events
Serious adverse events are rare following immunization with IPV-containing vaccine and, in most cases, data are insufficient to determine a causal association. Anaphylaxis following vaccination with IPV-containing vaccine may occur, but is very rare.
Guidance on reporting Adverse Events Following Immunization
Vaccine providers are asked to report, through local public health officials, any serious or unexpected adverse event felt to be temporally related to vaccination. An unexpected AEFI is an event that is not listed in available product information but may be due to the immunization, or a change in the frequency of a known AEFI.
Refer to Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunization in Canada for additional information about AEFI reporting.
Contraindications and precautions
Administration of IPV-containing vaccine should be postponed in persons with moderate or severe acute illness. Persons with minor acute illness may be vaccinated.
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Poliomyelitis : For Health Professionals
Poliomyelitis infection is a highly infectious viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. Polio infections are more common in children less than 5 years of age. However, any person who is not immune to poliovirus, regardless of age, can become infected. There is no cure for polio but it can be prevented through immunization. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends routine childhood immunization against polio.
Consult the national case definition for additional information.
What To Do If You Move
If you move to another province or territory, your child’s vaccination schedule may change. Once you have moved, contact your new health care provider or local public health office. They will tell you which vaccines may be needed in that province or territory.
Remember to take your child’s vaccination record to the appointment with you.
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Polio Hit Canada In Waves
Polio epidemics hit parts of the country in waves from the 1920s to the 1950s, peaking with a particularly bad year in 1953 with 9,000 cases and 500 deaths nationally.
“It was kind of our last real national health emergency like this,” said Christopher Rutty, an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto who has studied the history of polio in Canada.
The economic and social toll of COVID-19 has touched every corner of Canada on a scale surpassing polio. But much like today’s pandemic, the fear was real and some of the measures now all too familiar.
During polio outbreaks, schools, playgrounds and movie theatres were closed in pockets of the country. Public health officials in some communities gave daily briefings on new cases and recoveries, according to social historian Leah Morton, and families of the infected were quarantined.
Nurses were recruited out of retirement to help with large numbers of patients, while health officials and governments scrambled for much-needed equipment. There was the push to develop a vaccine that would finally bring it under control.
Polio is a virus most often spread through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. Although many people didn’t get sick, in some cases it infected the spinal cord and caused paralysis. Many cases involved children. In the worst scenarios, polio damaged the nerves that controlled the muscles around the lungs.
Tetanus Diphtheria And Pertussis Vaccination
- Adolescents age 1112 years: 1 dose Tdap
- Pregnancy: 1 dose Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably during the early part of gestational weeks 2736
- Tdap may be administered regardless of the interval since the last tetanus- and diphtheria-toxoid-containing vaccine.
- Adolescents age 1318 years who have not received Tdap: 1 dose Tdap, then Td or Tdap booster every 10 years
- Persons age 718 years not fully vaccinated* with DTaP: 1 dose Tdap as part of the catch-up series if additional doses are needed, use Td or Tdap.
- Tdap administered at age 710 years
- Children age 79 years who receive Tdap should receive the routine Tdap dose at age 1112 years.
- Children age 10 years who receive Tdap do not need the routine Tdap dose at age 1112 years.
*Fully vaccinated = 5 valid doses of DTaP OR 4 valid doses of DTaP if dose 4 was administered at age 4 years or older.
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Allergic Reaction To The Vaccine
Inactivated polio vaccine can cause an allergic reaction in a few people since the vaccine contains trace amounts of antibiotics, streptomycin, polymyxin B, and neomycin. It should not be given to anyone who has an allergic reaction to these medicines. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, which usually appear within minutes or a few hours after receiving the injected vaccine, include breathing difficulties, weakness, hoarseness or wheezing, heart rate fluctuations, skin rash and dizziness.
History Of Polio Vaccination
Correspondence to: Anda Baicus, MD, PhD, Lecturer in Microbiology, Head of the National Polio Laboratory, National Institute of Research and Development for Microbiology and Immunology Cantacuzino, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila, 050096 Bucharest, Romania.
Telephone: +40-740-213102 Fax: +40-215-287305
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Epidemiology Of Polio In Canada
The incidence of polio in Canada was dramatically reduced by the introduction of immunization programs in the 1950s. The last indigenous case of wild poliovirus in Canada was in 1977. In 1994, Canada was certified as being free of wild poliovirus by the World Health Organization. Cases of paralytic polio in Canada reported since that time have been associated with importations of wild poliovirus and the use of OPV vaccine. Vaccine programs switched from OPV vaccine to inactivated poliomyelitis vaccines exclusively in 1995/1996.
Until polio eradication has been achieved globally, there remains a small risk of importation of polio into Canada. To ensure that Canada remains polio-free, the Public Health Agency of Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Paediatric Society, conducts surveillance of cases of acute flaccid paralysis in children less than 15 years of age. Since 1996, between 27 and 64 AFP cases in children less than 15 years of age have been reported each year, none attributed to wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus.
Figure 1: Poliomyelitis, paralytic – reported cases, Canada, 1950-2012
The image consists of two line graphs showing the reported number of cases of poliomyelitis in Canada over time in years. There is one main graph and a smaller graph embedded within the main graph at the top right corner.
Why We Need Vaccines
Vaccines have successfully lowered the rates of disease in countries with strong vaccination programs.
Some of the diseases that vaccines prevent have no treatment or cure. These diseases can cause:
- severe illness
Even with improved living conditions and modern hygiene, vaccines are still very important to prevent infections that could make your child very sick.
Some diseases are now rarely seen in Canada because of long-term high rates of vaccination in the population, including:
However, these diseases still exist in some countries, so people who live in them or travel to them may become infected. They can introduce and spread these diseases when they return to Canada. High rates of vaccination against these diseases help to prevent further spread and outbreaks.
The best way to protect your children’s health is to prevent these diseases in the first place by keeping their vaccinations up to date. Some examples include:
Measles is still a leading cause of death in children worldwide, with 89,780 cases in 2016. One person with measles can infect 12 to 18 people who haven’t had the vaccine.
Measles is a very contagious disease. You can catch it by walking into a room that an infected person sneezed in an hour before you entered.
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