Last month saw new recommendations outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) following the latest outbreak of the wild Poliovirus in Asia, as it seeks to halt the spread of the disease to other countries and regions across the world. The countries affected include Pakistan - which has over 270,000 visitors from Britain each year - and as CEO of The British Polio Fellowship I would like to drive home the need to check WHO's guidelines before travelling to the country.
Travellers needing to visit infected countries including Pakistan are recommended to have a booster dose of the Polio vaccine if they have not already received one in the last ten years and those visiting affected countries should always practice strict food and water hygiene. Aside from this those visiting Pakistan or other infected areas must ensure they have an up to date vaccination certificate when departing the country, a measure enforced as a direct result of WHO's guidelines.
The British Polio Fellowship has supported WHO's drive to end Polio through rigorous vaccination programmes that are being administered worldwide and it is important that the hard work does not go to waste in this important time in the fight to eradicate the disease. Although only a handful of countries reported Polio cases in 2013 (including Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Syria and Afghanistan), 20% of the earth's population still live in regions affected by Polio.
For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call 0800 018 0586, email email@example.com or visit the website at http://www.britishpolio.org.uk
About Post Polio Syndrome (PPS)
Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 per cent of those who have had Polio. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of Polio or PPS today.
After an interval of several years of stability, individuals can develop increasing weakness, fatigue and pain in previously affected or unaffected muscles, a general reduction in stamina, breathing, sleeping and/or swallowing problems and cold intolerance. PPS usually begins very slowly, although it can appear suddenly and often following triggers such as falls, surgery or immobility.
There is no specific cure for PPS, but properly managed it may stabilise or only progress slowly and lessen the cost on the NHS. Much can be done to retain independence, including appropriate treatment for symptoms, self-management strategies such as pacing and energy management, appropriate use of adaptive equipment, looking after your general health, and social and emotional support.
About Travel to Pakistan
In response to the World Health Organisation's emergency recommendations about the spread of Poliovirus, on 13 May the government of Pakistan announced that a valid vaccination certificate will be required for all travellers departing Pakistan from 1 June 2014. This travel advice will be updated as further details become available. In the meantime, you should follow the interim advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. More advice can be found on the Foreign Office website at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/pakistan.