Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Monday, April 14, 2008

Polio Vaccines on the Decrease

A very good friend of mine recieved this article in an e-mail and thought it important enough to share it with friends and loved ones. I'm posting it here as well.


International Centre for Post-Polio Education and Research
at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
Englewood, New Jersey 07631 USA
877-Post-Polio 201-894-3724


Contact: Lisa Gordon 1-877-Post-Polio



International Post-Polio Task Force and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Announce Polio Vaccination Campaign
to “Nip” America’s Next Polio Epidemic in the Bud.

April 12, 2008: ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY USA -- Today, the 52nd anniversary of the development of the injectable polio vaccine, the International Post-Polio Task Force (IPTF) announced National Immunization for Polio Prevention in Infants and Toddlers - or "NIPP IT" -- WEEK, April 19-26.

“NIPP IT” WEEK, supported by Rotary International and Every Child by Two (ECBT.org), cofounded by former First Ladies Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumpers to promote immunization of all children by age two, is intended to prompt parents, healthcare professionals and state health officials to ensure that all American children receive four doses of the injectable, inactivated polio vaccine.

Alarming Drops in Polio Vaccination in Border States and Ports of Entry.

Between 2005 to 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported drops in polio vaccination in twenty states and in ten large US cities, along with importation of poliovirus across borders into the US that caused polio infections in Minnesota and Arizona.

"The return of polio to the US and drops in polio vaccination are very disturbing," said Dr. Richard L. Bruno, Chairperson of the International Post-Polio Task Force. CDC estimates that more than one million US toddlers are unvaccinated. "While there was a small nationwide increase in polio vaccination of about 1%, twenty states had an average reduction of more than 2%, while in ten cities polio vaccination dropped by an average of nearly 3%," added Bruno, who is also director of The Post-Polio Institute and International Centre for Post-Polio Education and Research at New Jersey's Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

Even more disturbing, states with the largest drops in polio vaccination are on the borders with Mexico and Canada. Arizona, Texas and New Mexico reported an average drop of one and one-half percent. Seventy percent of the states that border Canada reported average drops in polio vaccination of about 3%. Montana had a 6% decrease and Maine dropped 7%.

“Even Minnesota had a decrease, which is frightening,” said Dr. Bruno. Five Minnesota children caught polio in 2005 after coming in contact with someone importing poliovirus from outside the US.

Dr. Bruno is also concerned about cities that are major points of entry into the US -- New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Seattle -- where a nearly 4% average drop in polio vaccination was reported.

City Children Living in Poverty Have Lowest Polio Vaccination Rates.

Toddlers living in poverty have the lowest polio vaccination rates -- below 87% in Boston, Indianapolis, Memphis and Phoenix, and below 85% in Detroit, Houston and Seattle -- rates lower than in Western Pacific countries that include Cambodia, Mongolia and Vietnam.

"The children who had polio in Minnesota are canaries in the mine shaft," said Dr. Bruno.
“Young parents don't vaccinate because they don't remember the terror that was polio or realize that the vaccine did not ‘cure’ polio.” Polio has never come under control in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. And, the poliovirus has been reintroduced to ten African and Asian nations that were polio free.

"With the ease of air travel,” asked Dr. Bruno, “What will happen when a polio-infected individual lands in one of America's potential polio pockets, like New York City, and passes poliovirus to the estimated 24,000 infants and toddlers in that city who are not immunized?"

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter agreed, saying, "Our country has come so far to protect against polio through universal vaccination. We cannot afford to relax our efforts because polio is still a real problem in parts of the world and can easily be transported back to the US We cannot risk a single child to this terrible disease."

"We need “NIPP IT WEEK” to raise awareness of the need for polio vaccination and hopefully ‘nip’ America’s next polio epidemic in the bud,” said Dr. Bruno.

Said Betty Bumpers, Former Arkansas First Lady, "I have seen the ravages of polio here in the U.S., prior to the development of the vaccine, and its current victims in Africa. It is imperative that we keep our polio vaccination rates high to make certain that not one person in the US suffers polio's consequences."

Dr. Bruno agreed, saying, "The polio vaccine has been a victim of its own success. We must do more to vaccinate America's children against this deadly and disabling disease. America's next polio epidemic could be just a car or plane ride away."