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Should We Worry About the Polio Outbreak in Tajikistan?

An outbreak of poliomyelitis in Tajikistan has health officials concerned that unvaccinated children in the United States and elsewhere are at risk of contracting the paralyzing disease.

More than 560 cases of acute flaccid paralysis were reported in Central Asia's Tajikistan as of June 1, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Acute flaccid paralysis - the sudden onset of weakness or paralysis of the muscles - is an early sign of polio. Laboratory tests are needed to confirm the poliovirus as the cause; thus far, more than 230 of these cases have been confirmed as polio, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

This is a dramatic rise from the seven cases in that country reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

I'm neither anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine. I just want your opinions.


Asked by mancosmomma at 6:59 PM on Jun. 25, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (17)
  • I don't think its something we should really worry about. I am sure over 90% of the US is vaccinated. Especially since the non vax scene is pretty new. According to 96.07% had polio immunity in 2005. So yeah should we keep an eye out? Sure. But is it a thing to panic about? No.

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 7:10 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • I would be if I had non vaxed kids. There is no treatment for polio because it is a virus. It can be just as severe or mild now as it was years ago.

    Answer by Carpy at 7:16 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • My mother had polio as a child in the 1950s. I've not read the article, but I know the life-altering consequences of polio, and this worries me. My children are vaxed for it, but still this is not something to take lightly.

    Answer by May-20 at 7:30 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • This is precisely why I have my son vaccinated. Outbreaks in other countries can most certainly reach the US. It doesn't scare me, but it would if we weren't all vaccinated. Actually, I guess in a way it does scare me because I don't want anyone contracting it, even people I don't know. It's a horrible disease!

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 7:03 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • Carpy, I hadn't thought about that. There is NO treatment for it, just some treatment for the physical problems afterwards. There are still people in iron lungs in the US, left from the last big polio outbreak.

    Answer by MunchMunch at 7:18 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • Wow between this and the outbreak of whooping cough in Cali, I am glad that my kids are vaccinated! All it takes is one infected traveler to spread these once-wiped-out diseases globally these days.

    Answer by 29again at 9:09 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • FDR had polio, he was in a wheelchair, but when he would stand he had iron braces on his legs. Polio was a scary thing back then. I hope it never gets here.


    Answer by Natesmom507 at 11:53 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • My children are (sort of) vaccinated. The youngest isn't ready to finish her polio yet...and that's the thing a lot of people forget about. It's the young ones that haven't finished their vaccines yet that can still get the disease as well. So just because you vaccinate, doesn't mean you're in the clear.

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:52 AM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • No, not at all. My kids aren't vaccinated, nor will they be, and I'm FAR from worried. On the OFF chance that they were to come in contact with Polio, treatments today aren't nearly as harsh as they were 40 years ago... We have come a long way in medicines and it wouldn't be nearly the horror it was back then. If your kids are sick, take them to the doctor, they will get some meds and be fine. Just be educated about the early signs if you're worried and know what to look for and how to protect your kids... We don't really have the type of society today where polio flourishes well, so if it were to come here, it wouldn't do well or spread quickly, even without vaccines...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 7:04 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • Crissy is right. However, it's a pretty scary disease and not easily treated, like some people seem to think.

    Answer by MunchMunch at 7:11 PM on Jun. 25, 2010