Discovery of new Polio-like virus in America highlights magnitude

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The discovery of a new Polio-like virus in America, which has led to 100 children developing paralysis, underlines how much work is still to be done to eradicate Polio says national charity, The British Polio Fellowship.

Scientists in the USA believe that this new virus is linked to Polio after a six year old girl with paralysis tested positive for enterovirus C105. Although this is a newly discovered virus, it is in the same family as Polio. Worryingly, the virus has spread across 34 different states in America, meaning the chances of controlling the virus have been lowered drastically.

“This is very saddening news,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “Setbacks like this only make us stronger though and even more determined to eradicate Polio in all its forms once and for all.” Since 1988, a global initiative to eradicate Polio was established, leading to the number of cases being lowered by more than 99% in 30 years. Through routine vaccination, an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 were reduced to a reported 650 in 2011. However, the fight against Polio still goes on, as this recent news shows.

“There’s still a lot more work to be done to be rid of Polio for good,” said Ted. “At The British Polio Fellowship, we strive to empower those in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome through support groups across the country. We also spread awareness of the disease as many people forget it exists in today’s world.”

To find out more about The British Polio Fellowship and to learn about the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome visit the charity’s website at www.britishpolio.org.uk.

About Post Polio Syndrome (PPS)
Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80% of those who have had Polio. It is estimated that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with PPS today. After an interval of several years of stability, individuals can develop increasing weakness, fatigue and pain in previously affected or unaffected muscles, a general reduction in stamina, breathing, sleeping and/or swallowing problems and cold intolerance. PPS usually begins very slowly, although it can appear suddenly and often following triggers such as falls, surgery or immobility. There is no specific cure for PPS, but properly managed it may stabilise or only progress slowly and lessen the cost on the NHS whilst increasing the quality of life of those affected. Much can be done to retain independence, including self-management strategies such as pacing and energy management, appropriate use of adaptive equipment, looking after your general health, and social and emotional support.

 

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