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Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 31, No. 4, Fall 2015


Polio Survivors in Turkey

Prof. Dr. Arzu Yağız On, Ege University Medical Faculty,
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Izmir, Turkey

Eradication history of polio in Turkey

In 1963, oral polio vaccination started in Turkey and covered about 20% of the children, but by 1985, this rate increased to about 70%. In 1989, Turkey joined the global eradication program of the World Health Organization. In 1995, mass vaccination campaigns started and were repeated every year. With these efforts, vaccination coverage increased to 100%, meaning that polio vaccine was administered to all children in the target group.

Europe’s last case of wild poliomyelitis occurred in eastern Turkey in 1998. However, Turkey is surrounded by polio active countries and is traversed by emigrants to Europe.

Turkey’s most severe threat of polio comes from the 600,000 Syrian refugees because polio re-emerged there three years ago. Extensive vaccination campaigns have been conducted since 2012 not only at the Syria camps but also in the regions threatened by the disease, even in Istanbul. No new polio cases have been reported so far.


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