For long, Poliomyelitis, commonly known as Polio, has wreaked havoc affecting children and young adults worldwide. The polio virus that triggers the highly contagious infection usually thrive within the throat and the intestine of the infected person. The faeces of a polio-infected person can act as a potential threat that can spread the infection from one person to another.
The situation worsens in areas with unhealthy sanitary hygiene where people go for open defecation. Both nasal, as well as oral secretions, also enhance the chances of spread of the polio infection. In extreme and severe cases, the infection if left untreated, can cause paralysis or even death. In fact, the U.S. was one of the worst affected, leaving many people crippled and paralyzed.
The polio vaccine, first used in the year 1955 was indeed a revelation. The polio vaccine comes in two forms- the Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) and the OPV or the Oral Poliovirus Vaccine.
OPV involves the use of live strains of the polio virus. IPV, as the name suggests, involves the use of inactivated poliovirus strains to protect a person against the deadly and contagious polio infection.
Both the vaccines are effective in immunizing the people against polio. However, some people did suffer from polio in spite of being vaccinated with the OPV. As a result, in the year 2000, the IPV was chosen over OPV as the preferred polio vaccination by the U.S.
The dosage of the IPV
Like most of the vaccines that use inactivated or attenuated virus, the IPV works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies which will immunize and protect the person against the polio virus and the infection.
As polio is known to affect children more, all children should be given the polio vaccine to keep them protected from polio.
The IPV is a four dose vaccination.
1. The first dose of IPV is given at 2 months, with the second and the third dose at 4 months and 6-18 months respectively.
2. The final dose, a booster, is given to a child between 4-6 years.
A person is often injected the IPV in the arm or the leg.
When is IPV recommended?
Though the IPV is a must for children, the following adults may also require an IPV, just to be on a safer side (to avoid the chances of being a possible carrier of the polio virus).
1. People working with polio virus (for research or in labs) or the health officials who are in constant touch with the polio patients.
2. People being to areas (worked related or leisure trips) where there are high incidences of polio.
For such people (who had no previous history of the IPV), the recommended doses of IPV are as follows:
1. The first dose can be decided by the doctors.
2. The second dose is given one to two months following the first shot of the vaccine.
3. The third and the final dose of the IPV is given within 6-12 months, following the second dose.
There is, however, no fourth or booster dose involved.
Who should avoid the IPV?
As with most of the vaccines, the IPV, too should be avoided under certain situations.
1. People showing signs of an allergic reaction to the vaccine (can be immediately after the first dose) or those allergic to Neomycin, Streptomycin, or Polymyxin B.
2. Pregnant women are also advised to avoid the IPV.
As per the recent survey, almost all the countries (with the exception of Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, to name a few) are polio free, all thanks to the endless campaigns and awareness programs.