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Pakistan: Anti Polio Campaign Launched In 20 Districts Of Balochistan | Quetta Voice.

[Mar 16, 2020]

QUETTA: An anti polio campaign was launched in 20 districts of Balochistan on Monday. The campaign would continue for five days in Jaffarabad, Naseerabad, Jhal Magsi, Harnai, Kalat, Loralai and  other districts of the province.

All arrangements for the campaign have been finalized and teams formed to make sure success of the campaign, an officer of the emergency operation cell in Quetta said.

During the campaign, the officer informed that more than 1.2 million kids below the age of five years would be administered anti polio drops. However, more than 4000 teams have been formed to make sure provision of polio drops to every kid in these districts.

Security has also been tightened to avoid occurrence of any untoward incident during the campaign. The security has been tightened since terrorists targeted polio volunteers in various parts of Balochistan in this part.

This year, five cases of polio virus have been confirmed in Balochistan. However, last year, 12 cases of polio virus were confirmed in the province.

Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal has termed the polio volunteers as the heroes of Balochistan battling the crippling virus.

Government has also declared emergency to cope with the crippling virus, which has paralyzed hundreds of innocent kids in the province.


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Pakistan: Struggling Against Polio | The Nation.

[16th March 2020]

Where we were once close to completely eradicating polio, our progress has been completely wiped away by the failure of successive governments. Thirteen cases surfaced within a single day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; not only is this unprecedented, this lapse is also completely unforgivable.

In simple terms, what this means is that the future of 144 children was dealt a huge blow last year and this year looks to be no different, with over 44 cases already. When is the state going to realise that the existing polio eradication policy is not working?

Currently, vaccine refusal remains a huge stumbling block in the fight against polio as does the irregularity of the immunisation drives. Any new policy must strictly cater to this exigent problem as well. Only last year, the police in northern areas had the opportunity to register cases and refusing parents, but they chose not to do so. Authorities need to be willing to throw the book at any offenders if we are to have any chance of ensuring that refusing parents do not endanger the lives of their children.

The state must act as patriarch in this matter, as it does so on other opportunities. It has now been a year and a half since the political transition that has been blamed as the leading cause for the rise in cases took place – which took place when the government changed hands. When is the sitting government going to prioritise eradicating polio?

This matter of national health has already become too political; communities are already using the polio vaccine as leverage to get demands from the government accepted. None of this should be tolerated. The only thing that needs to be done is to implement a no-tolerance policy on refusals and an all-encompassing national campaign that leaves no stone unturned. The fight against polio for the taking; but is the government prepared or even willing to make sure that it gets the right results?


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John Shearer: Random Thoughts About 1941 Polio Crisis That Also Shut City Down … | The Chattanoogan.

[Sunday, March 15, 2020]

Despite the new feelings of fear over the spreading of the coronavirus, Chattanooga has periodically had to deal with frightening silent health killers and disrupters before.

The yellow fever epidemic of 1878 claimed some 366 local lives during a 2½-month period, according to some online information announcing a tour held several months ago at Forest Hills Cemetery.

John Wilson’s book, “Chattanooga’s Story,” chronicles multiple pages of stories about some of the people who died, including Chattanooga mayor Thomas Carlile at his West Ninth Street home on the side of Cameron Hill.

Hattie Ackerman, a schoolteacher who began volunteering as a nurse, also died.

She had become a beloved figure due to her efforts to put others above herself.

The local residents had at first thought Chattanooga would not be susceptible to this disease due to its mountainous location, but that proved not to be the case. And several doctors and others died while going to Memphis to help combat the ailment before it arrived in Chattanooga.

The second major disease to affect Chattanooga and numerous other areas was the Spanish influenza outbreak about the time World War I ended. It has been well recounted in recent months and even days due to stories about its centennial anniversary and current comparisons to the coronavirus outbreak, respectively.

A historical story by local historian Sam Elliott published several months ago mentioned that some 7,000 people locally contracted influenza and up to 700 deaths could have occurred from that or possibly another seasonal flu. Public gatherings and social interactions were also discouraged like today.

As Chattanooga and the world are faced once again with such a potentially fearful health scare, and many are wondering for the first time whether danger is now lurking in familiar and favorite public places and among friends, I remembered a story I wrote on another outbreak.

That was the September 1941 polio epidemic that virtually shut down the city for a couple of weeks, much as seems to be happening here. While that disease usually struck young people and often resulted in paralysis, the precautions taken at that time seemed to be eerily familiar to those ordered over the Covid-19 scare in 2020.

I had written a story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press in the fall of 1991 on the 50th anniversary of the event, and I went back and looked at my now-yellowed clipping of the article.

That month had started out with optimism, despite the escalating World War II in Europe before America’s entry. As evidence of the good vibes, the theaters were promoting the upcoming movies. Scheduled to show at the Tivoli in mid-September was “Sun Valley Serenade,” which featured a new song by the name of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.”

However, that movie would not be shown then due to that villain considered as bad as an enemy warmonger. It was, of course, the polio virus.

While it had been a horrible health issue for some time in America and would continue to be until a vaccine was finally found in the 1950s, local officials at first thought the outbreak was waning, even though some cases had been reported the month before.

On Sept. 8, though, the situation was said to be worsening again, and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department Director Dr. F.O. Pearson and others issued an order prohibiting adults and children from gathering publicly.

School had already been postponed indefinitely, and such popular events as the Interstate Fair at Warner Park and the Cotton Ball at Memorial Auditorium were also halted.

And the Chattanooga Lookouts’ playoff baseball game scheduled against the Atlanta Crackers at Engel Stadium was moved to Atlanta.

A story in the News-Free Press that day simply said, “The epidemic has reached a serious stage.”

Dr. Pearson had originally announced on that Monday that the movie theaters would also shut down beginning Saturday for the first time since the influenza outbreak of the late 1910s. However, after five new cases of polio were reported the next day and after a meeting with theater officials, he ordered all movie houses to close at the end of the day on Tuesday.

By the next day, Wednesday, Sept. 10, all bowling alleys, pool halls, and recreation centers were closed, and civic meetings were postponed.

From July until about mid-September, about 100 cases of polio had been reported in Hamilton County, although the only death was apparently a 4-year-old who had been brought to T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Glenwood from Alabama.

On Sept. 14, as the crisis showed no signs of ending, the University of Chattanooga announced that the start of its classes would be postponed until Sept. 28.

Worry continued to fill the community, and, as often happens, some con artists tried to sell a disinfectant that they claimed would prevent polio. But Dr. Pearson said such actions were fraudulent.

Finally, on Sept. 19, Chattanoogans received some happy news when Dr. Pearson and the others announced that the crisis appeared to be passing and the ban on public gatherings, including at theaters, was to be lifted on Sept. 24.

A feeling of much relief filled the community, and some youngsters in St. Elmo even had a parade down Alabama Avenue on that day of celebration.

Dr. Pearson -- a Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins graduate who would later practice at Campbell Clinic before becoming involved as a regional public health director in Macon, Ga., until his death in 1959 – had shown much leadership and wise counsel during that tumultuous time.

Chattanooga area citizens and people everywhere are hoping this eerie feeling about this latest bodily invader of harm will be kept under control with proper steps and guidance, too, and we can soon get back to our sense of normalcy and calm, not to mention getting to enjoy sports.

And speaking of sports ...

[For "And About Bob Goodrich And Dawn Staley" continue reading at source article.]


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Canada: Vernon survived past viruses | Castanet.

[Mar 15, 2020]

Polio virus had people on edge almost 100 years ago.

Photo: Greater Vernon Museum and Archives
A tent city was set up in Vernon in the 1920s and '30s to house children suspected of having polio.

Gwyn Evans, Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, writes:

The world is in the grip of a crisis, but this is hardly the first time a virus has caused concern.

COVID-19 is dominating news headlines; university classes, sports tournaments and large gatherings are being cancelled.

But Vernon has faced, and emerged from, epidemics in the past, a fact which might offer some solace to readers.

In the 1920s and ‘30s, a relatively new viral disease that affected some of the city’s most vulnerable enveloped Vernon in a state of panic.

In September 1927, several children in Kelowna developed headaches, fevers, malaise and muscle soreness. Vernon responded quickly, closing schools and banning children from attending public gatherings. 

The ban was lifted a few weeks later, but the Vernon Board of Health continued to caution citizens against traveling to Kelowna, and provided information about how to keep children safe.

The disease in question was infantile paralysis, or, as it is more commonly known, polio.

Although September ended with optimism by health officials Vernon had avoided any cases of polio, two boys at the Vernon Preparatory School in Coldstream were quarantined after developing symptoms that were similar to, but not considered to be, polio.

Coldstream’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. O. Morris, decided to have all the boys at the prep school quarantined. Men from Vernon and Coldstream set to the task of building a tent city for the boys in a ravine not far from the school grounds, and all measures were taken to keep the children safe and healthy.

Tents were pitched 50 feet apart, and 22 latrines were constructed, one for every two boys.

Each boy had his own tent, complete with a floor and walls, a spring bed, blankets, towels, a wash basin, soap, and an oil heater; in total, 45 tents were erected. Telephone service was even extended to the camp so that the boys could be in touch with their parents.

All the boys were tested to make sure they were healthy before they moved into the camp, so for them, living in a tent city must have been closer to camping than to being quarantined.

The Vernon Boy Scouts helped keep their friends’ spirits up by providing them with books and games. Those boys who did not pass the health examination were kept in rooms in the school building, but officials eventually decided they were not suffering from polio and sent them off to the tent city.

Photos show parent’s visiting children over barbed-wire fences, and the quarantine zone was policed at all times. Eventually, the necessary quarantine time of 21 days had passed, and the boys were sent home.

More cases of polio would strike the Okanagan in the coming years.

In 1934, three children in Kelowna fell sick. Another outbreak occurred in 1937, which once again resulted in school closures and a public gathering ban. However, this time, Vernon had its first case; high-school student Robert Beairsto, the oldest son of principal H.K. Beairsto, complained of not feeling well and was assessed by doctors has having polio.

The school ban was intended to be lifted in early October, but two more cases forced its prolongation; a 22-month-old boy living on Grandview Flats, and an 18-year-old girl in Salmon Arm, had also contracted the disease.

Robert Beairsto was young and healthy, and recovered fully, the toddler suffered greatly and developed the uncommon, yet severe, paralysis that was associated with a minority of polio cases.

However, he too, survived.


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Pakistan: 454,000 Children To Be Administered Anti-polio Drops In High Risk Areas | UrduPoint.

[Sun 15th March 2020] Mohammad Ali writes:

RAWALPINDI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Mar, 2020 ) :A five-day anti-polio drive would commence in high risk areas of the district from March 16.

During the campaign 1309 polio teams would go door-to-door and administer polio drops to 454,000 children less than five years of age.

Under the drive, the polio teams would visit 46 union councils of Rawalpindi city, 28 union councils of Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment Boards and 15 union councils of rural areas of Tehsil Rawalpindi which have been declared high-risk areas, Incharge Anti-Polio drive Chaudary Muhammad Hussain told APP here Sunday.

He said reason for launching the special drive is presence of Mono type 2 polio virus in union council Girja,tehsil Rawalpindi.

Hussain said, "mobile teams have been constituted for door-to-door vaccination of the children. Besides special teams will be deployed at district entry points and bus terminals. Sufficient quantity of vaccine is available, and no stone will be left unturned in our efforts to make the campaign a success."In the recently concluded regular campaign, he said, 8,62,250 children upto five years age were administered polio drops to prevent the younger generation from the crippling disease.

The Incharge advised parents to come forward and play their role in ensuring vaccination of their children to eliminate the disease from society.


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USA: Investigations: Federal vaccine development sites ill-suited to counter covid-19 epidemic | Washington Post.

[March 15, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. GMT]

Light is reflected through a window onto vials in a lab at Protein Sciences on March 12 in Meriden, Conn. The biotech company is currently researching a vaccine for covid-19. (Jessica Hill/AP)Light is reflected through a window onto vials in a lab at Protein Sciences on March 12 in Meriden, Conn. The biotech company is currently researching a vaccine for covid-19. (Jessica Hill/AP)

David Willman writes:

Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. government invested heavily in four sprawling facilities that officials said could rapidly make vaccines and other lifesaving medicines if America were struck by an outbreak of infectious disease or a biological attack.

But as the nation confronts the coronavirus pandemic, none of the sites — located in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas — have developed or are close to delivering medicines to counter the outbreak, according to recordsgovernment officials and others familiar with the facilities.

Instead of leading the rush to find and mass manufacture a vaccine or lifesaving treatment, two of the sites are taking no role, while the other two expect to conduct small-scale testing of potential coronavirus vaccines.

At a cost to date of nearly $670 million, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Pentagon awarded contracts beginning in 2012 and 2013 to build or expand the four manufacturing complexes. Proponents said the sites would work with three private companies and one university to deliver emergency medicines and treatments, including flu vaccine, for both the military and civilians.

A Defense Department statement on Sept. 1, 2011, said its plant, which was eventually located in Alachua, Fla., would provide medical countermeasures and meet the military’s needs with “capabilities to rapidly respond” to “emerging and genetically engineered infectious disease outbreaks.’’

The three new HHS-backed sites, in Baltimore, College Station, Tex., and Holly Springs, N.C., would use modern “vaccine technologies that have the potential to produce vaccines for not only pandemic influenza but also other threats more quickly and in a more affordable way,’’ according to an agency news release on June 18, 2012.

The facilities, HHS said, “will provide the first major domestic infrastructure in the United States capable of producing medical countermeasures to protect Americans from the health impacts of bioterrorism’’ and disease epidemics.

[Continue reading in source article]


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