Letter: Eradication of polio still a work in progress

Today’s frequent international travel can contribute to disease spread and bring polio home to Canada.

To the editor:

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease that affects children under five years and once infected there is no cure. One in 200 cases result in irreversible paralysis and 5 to 10 per cent of those cases result in death. Luckily, there is a vaccine against polio, which is safe and available at immunization clinics in Canada.

While the global effort to fight this disease decreased the amount of new infections down 99 per cent since 1988, there are two counties where polio still exists—Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although far away from Canada, today’s frequent international travel can contribute to disease spread and bring it home to us.

April 25 through 29 is World Immunization Week, raising awareness that providing vaccination—including in the poorest countries—is important to protect us against deadly and crippling diseases. Only with the combined effort to keep everyone vaccinated is it possible to eliminate polio by 2019.

We have the power to eradicate polio and protect children against polio-related paralysis. Get vaccinated and support international immunization campaigns.

Dr. Karolin Klement, PhD,

Calgary