Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person. The virus enters the body through the mouth. It is spread through contact with the feces (stool) of an infected person or through exposure to phlegm or mucus when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
In 2014, India was officially declared polio-free, along with the rest of the South-East Asia Region. Thanks to the singular commitment of the Indian Government at all levels, partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, notably WHO, Rotary International and UNICEF, polio was tackled head-on. Prevention of disease spread is accomplished by vaccination. There are two kinds of polio vaccine—oral polio vaccine (OPV), which uses weakened poliovirus, and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is injected.
Most people (about 72%) who are infected with the poliovirus will not show any apparent symptoms.
Another 25% of those infected will experience symptoms including:
These symptoms usually last for 2 to 5 days, and then disappear.
However, a smaller number of people develop more severe symptoms that are due to involvement of the spinal cord and brain. These symptoms include:
Paresthesia, Meningitis, Paralysis. About 1 in 200 people who are infected with the poliovirus will experience paralysis.
While there is no cure for polio, it can be prevented by immunisation. The most effective way to prevent the disease is getting vaccinated. Immunisation against polio is recommended for all children from three to 18 months of age. Three booster doses should be given to all children up to 12 years of age.It is also important to practice good personal hygiene to reduce the spread of the polio virus.