World Polio Day 2023: Date, Importance, History, Why Celebrated, Significance, Symptoms & Treatment

Polio is a highly dangerous and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease is so dangerous that one in every 200 affected people faces irreversible paralysis. Therefore, the eradication of polio was considered important on a global scale. This is why World Polio Day is celebrated to raise awareness about polio vaccination and eradication. Dr. Virendra Singh‘s idea for a World Polio Day in 2023 serves as a somber reminder of the global campaign to stop one of the disease that has had the most devastating effects on humanity. The recognition serves as a reminder that, with unwavering resolve, we can create a world in which polio is only a distant memory, ensuring a healthier and more promising future for future generations. 

When is World Polio Day Observed?

World Polio Day is held on the 24th of October every year.

World Polio Day 2023: According to the WHO World Health Director, “eradicating polio is feasible, preventing billions of cases of paralysis and death, saving billions of dollars, and providing assurances that no parent in the world will ever have to worry about this terrible disease.” World Polio Day was founded by Rotary International several years ago to honor the birth of American virologist and medical researcher Jonas Salk, who was in charge of developing a polio vaccine.

The goal of employing inactivated polio vaccine and oral polio live vaccine is to establish the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. This is a public-private cooperation involving Rotary, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Importance of World Polio Day 

  • World Polio Day Raises Awareness of the Disease: Raising polio awareness is critical for people to comprehend both the disease’s history and contemporary impacts. World Polio Day serves as a reminder of the need for immunizations in the prevention of this awful illness, as well as how worldwide immunization efforts can help eradicate it. 
  • It Celebrates Progress Towards Eradication: Since 1988, thanks to widespread collaboration among international organizations, governments, civil society, philanthropies, and individuals, we have seen great progress in the effort to eradicate polio. World Polio Day is an occasion to celebrate our collective successes in combating this illness while also planning future plans to eradicate it from the face of the Earth. 
  • It Helps Raise Funds for Vaccine Networks: Organizations such as Rotary International play an important role in giving financial support to immunization networks around the world, allowing us to move closer to our objective of global eradication. World Polio Day likewise offers an opportunity for communities all across the world to gather together and collect funds for these networks, allowing more children to be protected from this crippling disease.  

History of World Polio Day Observed? 

World Polio Day was established by Rotary International to remember the birth of Jonas Salk, the medical researcher who headed the first team to create a polio vaccine and has been commemorated for almost a decade now. He developed the oral polio vaccine, which was introduced in 1961, after Albert Sabin created the inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which was used starting in 1955.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was initiated in 1988 by Rotary International and the WHO when there were almost 3,50,000 cases of polio worldwide. As of date, several regions like Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific have been declared polio-free. However, countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan still witness rare occurrences of this disease. Therefore, World Polio Day is the ideal time to raise awareness of the disease’s risks and the critical importance of immunizing infants in accordance with the recommended timetable in order to entirely eliminate the virus.

Why is World Polio Day Celebrated?

On this day, organizations from all across the world, including Rotary International, WHO, and others, honor the people and groups who have contributed to the battle to eradicate polio worldwide. Along with spreading happiness, it also attempts to educate the public on the need to control the virus and any potential outbreaks and to raise funds to do sol. 

How is World Polio Day celebrated worldwide?  

International organizations like Rotary International and other like-minded clubs and organizations hold a number of events and fund-raisers on this day to increase awareness of polio. Events can be of many different forms, from holding competitions in schools and clubs to holding marches and walks. Additionally, it demonstrates that no participant in the global effort to eradicate polio is too tiny to participate. 

Significance of World Polio Day 2023 

World Polio Day is incredibly important as it serves as a global reminder of the ongoing polio eradication effort. The following significant details highlight its importance: 

  • Raising Awareness: The importance of immunization in preventing polio is highlighted on World Polio Day, which also raises awareness of the disease’s terrible effects. It educates people about the dangers o the disease and the need for immunizations.
  • Celebrating Progress: It is a day to celebrate the significant progress made in the fight against polio. Many countries have been declared polio-free, thanks to global cooperation, and vaccination campaigns. 
  • Fundraising: World Polio Day is frequently used as an opportunity to raise money for polio eradication programs. On this day, organizations and donors make cash contributions to the cause. 
  • Honoring Frontline Workers: The day also celebrates the tireless work of volunteers and healthcare professionals who deliver polio vaccines, particularly in high risks areas. 
  • Reaffirming Commitment: It reaffirms thye commitment of organizations, governments, and individuals worldwide to continue the fight against polio until it is completely eradicated. 
  • Global Cooperation: The elimination of polio is evidence of international cooperation, and World Polio Day emphasizes the value of cooperation between nations and organizations to address health concerns. 
  • Preventing Resurgence: World Polio Day contributes to the continued promotion of vaccination and awareness in areas where polio has been eradicated.

Symptoms of Polio 

Most poliovirus-infected individuals—between 70% and 95%—do not exhibit any symptoms. The majority of patients who experience symptoms have the mildest type of the disease, which includes flu-like and digestive symptoms (abortive poliomyelitis). The most severe symptoms of paralytic polio include paralysis. 

Symptoms of Abortive Poliomyelitis

The signs and symptoms of poliomyelitis are similar to many other disorders. They begin three to seven days after infection and persist a couple of days. Symptoms of Abortive Poliomyelitis include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Sorethroat

Symptoms of Non-Paralytic Poliomyelitis 

The same signs that precede abortive poliomyelitis also appear in non-paralytic poliomyelitis. In the following few days, other symptoms such as: 

  • Severe headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain or pins-and-needles feeling in your legs and arms
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
Symptoms of Paralytic Poliomyelitis

The early stages of paralytic poliomyelitis resemble those of abortive or non-paralytic poliomyelitis. Additional symptoms can appear days or weeks later, including:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Sensitivity  to touch
How is Polio Treated?

Polio cannot be treated with a specific medication. Physical treatment is provided to paralyzed polio patients. If your breathing muscles are paralyzed or weakened, you’ll need mechanical ventilation, a machine that helps your breathe. Your indications and symptoms may be lessened by:

  • Drinking fluids (such as juice, water and broth)
  • Takin pain relievers such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • using heat packs to alleviate muscle pain
  • Doing physical therapy and any exercise recommended by your healthcare provider. 
  • Getting plenty of rest.