Officials in the northern Nigerian state of Kano say hundreds of parents are refusing to get their children immunized against the crippling disease, polio. Muhammad Abdu Zango, Kano state coordinator of Journalists Against Polio, said Tuesday that more than 200 parents refused the vaccine in one district alone.
Health officials began a four-day immunization campaign in Kano last week, with the goal of immunizing six million children. The parents that refuse to get their children vaccinated risk prosecution and jail time. Reports show that the parents refused vaccinations for a plethora of reasons.
Polio is caused by the poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3. All three types cause paralysis, with wild poliovirus type 1 being isolated from paralysis cases most often. This viral infection is primarily spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route. In places where sanitation is very good, transmission though throat secretions may be considered more important.
With immunization, by the end of 2007, polioviruses were limited to only four countries who had not succeeded in interrupting transmission; Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Most cases of polio are in children under the age of three.
Source: Journalists Against Polio