Polio, also known as poliomyelitis and infantile paralysis, is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis, breathing problems, or even death. Polio is a viral infection that can cause paralysis and death in its most severe forms. It can spread easily from person to person.

Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in which polio has not successfully been stopped.

Causes of Polio

  • The vast majority of polio infections present no symptoms.
  •  Polio is caused by person-to-person transmission of polio viruses
  • Not receiving the polio vaccine is the highest risk factor for getting infected with polio virus
  • .The viruses are spread human to human by direct and indirect contact
  • Pregnant women are more susceptible to polio.
  • Around half of the people who have had polio go on to develop post-polio syndrome.

Symptoms of Polio

Most people with polio do not display any symptoms or become noticeably sick. When symptoms do appear, they differ depending on the type of polio.

 Many people with non-paralytic polio make a full recovery. Unfortunately, those with paralytic polio generally develop permanent paralysis

  1. Non – paralytic symptoms:

Non-paralytic polio, also called abortive poliomyelitis, leads to flu-like symptoms that last for a few days or weeks. These include:

  • Sore throat
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • back and neck pain
  • arm and leg stiffness
  • muscle tenderness and spasms
  • fever
  • headache

     2. Paralytic symptoms

Symptoms of paralytic polio often start in a similar way to non-paralytic polio, but later progress to more serious s

symptoms such as:

  • a loss of muscle reflexes
  • severe muscle pain and spasms
  • loose or floppy limbs that are often worse on one side of the body.

Post polio syndrome

Post polio describes symptoms that develop in patients about 30 to 40 years after an acute polio illness. The cause is unknown. The post-polio syndrome symptoms include

  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • spinal changes such as scoliosis, spondylosis, and/or secondary nerve root and peripheral nerve compression.


There are two vaccines available to fight polio:

  • inactivated poliovirus (IPV)
  • oral polio vaccine (OPV)

IPV consists of a series of injections that start 2 months after birth and continue until the child is 4 to 6 years old.


Once the virus that causes polio has infected a person, there is no treatment that will cure polio. Early diagnosis and supportive treatments such as bed rest, pain control, good nutrition, and physical therapy to prevent deformities from occurring over time can help reduce the long-term symptoms due to muscle loss.


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