Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-to-person contact with the stool of an infected person and may also be spread through oral/nasal secretions. Polio used to be very common and caused severe illness in thousands of people each year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. Most people infected with the polio virus have no symptoms; however, for the less than 1% who develop paralysis it may result in permanent disability and even death.
There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). IPV is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on patient's age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and booster dose at 4-6 years.
You can start by learning the basics about this devastating disease
Facts About Polio Disease
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus that invades the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis.
There are three serotypes of poliovirus (1, 2, and 3). Immunity to one serotype does not protect against the other serotypes.
Wild poliovirus type 2 has been eradicated and cases of type 3 fell 92 percent from 2009 to 2010.
Polio affects children mainly below the age of five, but immune and partially immune adults can still be affected by the disease.
Although the most visible sign of polio is paralysis; only one percent of the effects of the disease is likely to be paralysis.
Polio has no symptoms and can spread widely before paralysis is visible. Those affected by polio are often not aware that they have the disease.
It is passed through person to person contact.
The disease has been eliminated in most countries in the world.
There is no treatment for polio. However, the disease can be prevented through vaccination and simple health interventions.
The world stands on the brink of eradicating polio - a debilitating disease that pulls vulnerable individuals deeper into poverty. Over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated since 1988 and the number of polio cases per year is down by 99 percent.
Global collaboration over three decades has reduced cases by 99% - bringing the end within reach. But crucial vaccination work is being constrained by a global funding gap, threatening the prospect of eradication.
Polio Infographic: The Time To Eradicate Polio Is Now