The Poliomyelitis eradication program was taken at the World Health Assembly in 1988. It is implemented in all countries of the world. Since its inception, this program has been a huge success in the fight against poliomyelitis, leading to an 18-fold reduction in the number of cases in the world. The estimated cost of the program from 1988 to 2006 was US $ 4.5 billion. In 1988, the number of cases was about 350,000 cases per year, and in 2001 the lowest values were achieved – 485 cases. Unfortunately, since 2002 there has been another increase in the number of cases up to 2918 cases, which was the result of cessation of vaccinations by some regions. A partially apparent increase in the number of cases of poliomyelitis may also be associated with better monitoring and greater detection of the disease incidence. Eradication of the disease means a situation when there is no disease, no germ in the material collected from people, as well as in material taken from the environment.
Criteria for eradication of poliomyelitis:
- failure to identify poliomyelitis caused by wild poliovirus strains for at least 3 years in a reliable monitoring of flaccid paralysis;
- immunization against poliomyelitis at the age of 2 at least 95% of children – in whole countries and in smaller administrative units (districts);
- the absence of wild-type poliovirus strains in the environment of patients with symptoms of severe flaccid paralysis and in other subjects virologically tested for poliovirus;
- ensuring conditions for the keeping of wild polio virus strains, allowing people and the environment to be infected with them.
The strategy of the polio eradication program has been based on several basic activities:
- to achieve a high vaccination rate (at least 95%) of children with three doses of OPV vaccine until the age of two, and in regions of endemic occurrence of wild strains – supplementary vaccinations
- Clinical, epidemiological and virological surveillance on acute flaccid paralysis (OPW) in children under the age of 15 in order to detect and investigate any case of suspected poliomyelitis.