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Home :: Infectious Diseases



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Polio is a condition caused by the poliovirus. Polio is a serious public health problem in India. One a person is exposed to polio, it usually takes about three to five days for symptoms to appear. Polio is a serious illness. It can cause paralysis (when you can't move your arms and legs) or even death. Thanks to the success of a global immunisation programme, polio has now been eradicated from most countries in the world and will hopefully soon be a thing of the past. Polio is a very serious disease, which can lead to paralysis or even death. One a person is exposed to polio, it usually takes about three to five days for symptoms to appear. However, from the digestive tract (stomach and intestines), the virus also can get into the blood stream and be carried to the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The killed-virus vaccine immunized people against the effects of the virus, but the virus could still spread from person to person.

The polio virus has an affinity for the central nervous system, which they usually reach by passage across the blood-brain barrier. Also the motor nerves supplying muscles are particularly vulnerable to infection. However, those who were struck by the virus and survived may find that years later they're victims of a second strike. If the virus gets into the brainstem (bulbar polio), muscles needed for breathing, swallowing and other vital functions become paralyzed, and the patient may die.

Polio is a viral disease which may affect the central nervous system. Polio (also called poliomyelitis ) is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. In about one of every hundred infected persons, the virus attacks nerves inside the spine that send messages to muscles in arms, legs and other areas. This can result in partial or complete paralysis. At the height of the polio epidemic in 1952, nearly 60,000 cases with more than 3,000 deaths were reported in the United States alone Initial attempts to develop a vaccine were hampered by the difficulty of obtaining enough virus. In about 5 percent of cases, the polio virus manifests in a mild form ( abortive polio ) with flu-like symptoms, in a nonparalytic form (aseptic meningitis) or in a severe form called paralytic polio. People who have minor or nonparalytic forms recover completely.

The poliovirus causes most of its infections in the summer and fall. The injected vaccine, acting through the bloodstream, immunizes the individual but does not reduce the potential for spreading the wild virus. Second, because the oral vaccine acts in the gut, it confers immunity there and reduces the spread of the wild virus. Polio is a very serious disease, which can lead to paralysis or even death .Although polio has plagued humans since ancient times, its most extensive outbreak occurred in the first half of the 1900s before the vaccination , created by Jonas Salk, became widely available in 1955.

Causes of Polio

The common Causes of Polio :

  • Polio is caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract.
  • Nerve cells that control muscle movements were damaged by the initial polio infection.
  • After many years of an increased workload, the ‘sprouts' start to break down.
  • As a result, new muscle weakness is experienced.
  • Trauma to the mouth/nose/throat, such as recent tonsillectomy or dental surgery
  • Unusual stress or physical exertion after an exposure to poliovirus (emotional and physical stress can weaken the immune system)

Symptoms of Polio

Some common Symptoms of Polio :

  • Fever
  • general discomfort or uneasiness ( malaise )
  • Headache
  • sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle atrophy (stiffening)
  • Fatigue
  • Painful joints and muscles
  • Back pain or stiffness
  • Low back pain
  • Difficult breathing and/or swallowing

Treatment of Polio

Here is the list of the methods for treating Polio :

  • Treatment of pain with analgesics (such as acetaminophen)
  • Bed rest (until fever is reduced)
  • Medications, such as bethanechol, may reduce urinary retention. Analgesics are used to reduce headache , muscle pain , and spasms .
  • Portable ventilators for breathing problems
  • Hospitalization (may be required for those individuals who develop paralytic poliomyelitis)
  • Analgesics for pain
  • Physical therapy, braces or corrective shoes, orthopedic surgery, or similar interventions may eventually be necessary to maximize recovery of muscle strength and function.
  • Antibiotics for infections