The discovery of live polio viruses in sewage samples in Nairobi has raised serious health concerns.
The discovery comes at a time when Kenya was seeking to be certified as a polio-free country.
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What does this all mean? That polio is alive and well in Kenya. The Poliovirus is crippling and potentially fatal. It is worsened by the fact that it spreads fast from one person to another.
Essentially, if a person who is not vaccinated comes into contact with the stool or respiratory secretions of an infected person, then they can get polio. Do not be persuaded by the language ‘stool’ and imagine it is impossible. It is easier than you think.
A polio vaccination campaign is underway and the main idea is to ensure that children under five are immunised.
Wondering what it is like to have polio? Senator Harold Kipchumba is a polio ambassador. He got Polio when he was 4 years old.
Polio is an infectious viral disease. It causes temporary or permanent paralysis. According to the ministry of health;
Polio is a very serious disease that can paralyze and even cause death. Polio enters the body through water or food that has been contaminated with infected stool. Polio spreads very easily throughout communities.
Almost 90% of those infected with the virus will have mild symptoms that may sometimes be unrecognizable. Others may have a fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs.
There is a polio campaign that begins on Wednesday 9th May to Sunday 13th May in Nairobi county where the virus has been found. Residents are required to open their doors so that their children under the age of 5 years get the polio vaccine.
In regard to previous concerns regarding the safety of vaccines, the ministry says
All vaccines offered by the Ministry of Health are tested, safe, effective and approved by World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, all medical supplies and commodities including vaccines that are used in the country must undergo rigorous quality control testing procedures by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (National
Quality Control laboratory).
The last time Kenya reported polio cases was in 2013 when an outbreak in Somalia led to the importation of 14 cases to Kenya.
Harold Kipchumba who will be knocking on doors to immunise children cautions those who are hesitant to immunise their children to do so as a matter of public health concern.