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Polio jab cuts chances of carrying disease up to 70%

The polio injection which has not been used for four decades has proved more effective than the oral pill. Credit: PA

Tests have shown giving children a polio jab which was last used in the 1960s can cut the chance of carrying the disease by up to 70 per cent.

Dr Jacob John, from the Christian Medical College in India, recruited 450 children from a densely populated village, all of whom had previously received the oral polio.

Half of them were then given a dose of the injected vaccine.

A month later all received a dose of the live oral vaccine to stimulate reinfection but tests showed the jab significantly reduced the chances of them carrying the two polio strains, serotypes 1 and 2.

Compared with children that did not receive the injection 38 per cent had fewer serotype 1 and 70 per cent had fewer serotype 2, The Lancet medical journal reported.

Return to polio jab 'offers best hope of eradication'

Returning to a polio jab that fell out of favour in the 1960s offers the best hope of eradicating the disease, research has claimed.

Currently protection against polio is generally delivered by mouth using liquid drops or a coated sugar lump that appeals to children.

A study claims returning to a polio vaccination offers the best hope of eradicating the disease. Credit: Anthony Upton/PA Wire

But a new study shows that boosting immunity with the injected polio vaccine (IPV) greatly improves the chances of preventing continued transmission of the virus.

Most polio vaccination campaigns today rely on multiple doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV), the effects of which wane over time.

Polio virus found in sewege at Sao Paulo airport

The polio virus has been found in sewage samples near Sao Paulo in Brazil, one of the host cities for the current World Cup football tournament, the World Health Organization said.

No human case of the disease has been reported in Brazil so far.

Cristiano Ronaldo at the Viracopos airport where polio virus has been found Credit: Reuters

The polio virus found was found in sewage collected in March at Viracopos International Airport. It is a close match with a recent strain isolated in a case in Equatorial Guinea, the organisation said.

Several national football teams have arrived to Sao Paulo via the Viracopos airport.

The United Nations agency said that it assessed the risk of further international spread of polio virus from Brazil as "very low."

Brazil has been polio-free since 1989.


Polio outbreaks 'an international health emergency'

The recent spread of polio across Middle Eastern and African countries is an international public health emergency that threatens to infect other countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

A child receives polio vaccination during an anti-polio campaign on the outskirts of Jalalabad. Credit: Reuters

The WHO said an co-ordinated international response was needed to stem the crippling disease, that tends to strike children under five and is usually spread via infected water.

Health experts are particularly concerned the virus continues to pop up in countries previously free of the disease, such as Syria, Somalia and Iraq, where civil war and unrest threatens efforts to contain the virus.

More polio cases confirmed in two new areas of Syria

More polio cases have been confirmed in two new areas of Syria, including near Damascus and in northern Aleppo, near Turkey, according to the World Health Organisation. The incurable virus was confirmed this month in 13 children who became paralysed.

WHO says polio is expected to spread after a drop in vaccination rates due to the war.