Cuba set to vaccinate 500,000 children against polio

Over half a million Cuban children will receive a vaccination against polio during the 50 National Polio Vaccination Campaign, which will run in Cuba from March 4 through March 10 and from April 22 to April 28.

Cuba began the first campaign of this kind in 1962. Since then, Cuba Headlines reports, the country has administered 79 million doses of polio vaccine so that the population of the country under the age of 62 is protected against the disease. Before the time of the revolution, polio was a serious health problem in Cuba.

Cuba received the Certificate of Poliomyelitis Eradication by the Pan American Health Organization and the International Commission for the Certification Poliomyelitis Eradication on April 9, 1995. Cuba has also eliminated eight other infectious diseases - whooping cough, neonatal tetanus, measles, mumps meningoencephalitis, malaria, rubella, diphtheria and congenital rubella syndrome.

Disease caused by Haemophilus influenza type B, hepatitis B and meningococcal meningitis have a low reported incidence in the country, Cuba Headlines reports. Children in Cuba are protected against 13 preventable diseases due to the Cuban immunization program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 52 countries that the United States recommends a polio booster before traveling to, including India, Russia, Pakistan and Kenya.

Polio is caused by a germ that lives in the intestines and throat that is spread through stool contact of an infected person. While most infected with the polio virus have no symptoms, some who become infected can become paralyzed.