What is Polio?
Polio is a disease is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system, and is usually spread by person to person contact, and rarely in drinking water or food. It can also be spread through stool (feces) of an infected person. It’s been eradicated from all but Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with rare occurrences spread from these countries. However, some parts of Asia and Africa, poliovirus still exists.
What are the Symptoms of Polio?
Most people with polio do not experience symptoms and recover completely, while some may have symptoms such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, muscle stiffness, pain in arms and legs. In serious cases Polio causes loss of muscle control, leading to paralysis, and even death.
Who is at Risk for Contracting Polio?
- Children under 5 years of age
- All individuals who have not completed full primary series of Polio vaccination during childhood.
- There is little to now risk for travelers who are traveling to regions where Polio virus has been eliminated such has: America, Europe, and Western Pacific.
- The following countries have declared an outbreak of Poliovirus in 2013: Afganistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syrian Arab Republic, Cameroon, Kenya, Somalia, Niger, Chad, and Yemen.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Polio virus and it can only be prevented. The only recommendation is to get vaccinated against Polio virus by ensuring that you receive Polio vaccine multiple times during childhood which will provide you with a life lasting immunity. A primary series of Polio vaccinations are routinely given at the following intervals: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, with a booster at 4-6 years of age.. The most common side effects of Polio vaccine is redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site lasting for a maximum of few days.
Centre of Control Disease and Prevention (2014). Polio and the vaccine (shot) to prevent it. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/child/polio.html
Public Health Agency of Canada (2014). Canada communicable disease report CCDR. Retrieved from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/14vol40/dr-rm40-13/dr-rm40-13-com-eng.php
Public Health Agency of Canada (2016). Poliomyelitis (Polio). Retrieved from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/vpd-mev/poliomyelitis/professionals-professionnels-eng.php
World Health Organization (2017). Poliomyelitis. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/