Polio is a viral disease that spreads with stool and contaminated water. It can also be spread between people. Polio can damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis. Most people get healthy but the disease can be life-threatening.
You can protect yourself against polio with vaccination.
Polio is still found in some countries in Asia and Africa.
WHO, the World Health Organization recommends an extra fifth dose if you are going to a country where there is a risk of being infected with polio. You can otherwise risk both getting the disease yourself and spreading it. Many people infected by the virus do not become ill themselves, but can still infect others.
Symptoms of polio
Polio usually starts with you getting a fever, getting tired, getting a headache and vomiting.
You may also get inflammation of the spinal cord, which can cause muscle paralysis. This also applies to the breathing muscles. Then the disease is life-threatening.
If you have had polio as a child, you may have trouble again, many years later. It’s called post-polio. You may then become weak in some or some muscles and very tired in the body.
When should I seek care?
Seek immediate care if you are not vaccinated against polio and get symptoms of polio.
So polio infects
The infection is spread with the faces through drains and contaminated water. Polio can also be spread through close contact between people. It usually takes seven to ten days from the time you get infected until you get sick.
There is no treatment for polio. When polio causes paralyzed respiratory muscles, you are helped to breathe with a respirator.
Most people who get polio become completely healthy. Some become paralyzed, which can partially or completely remain for the rest of their lives.