What is Polio

Polio is a viral disease which can affect the spinal cord causing muscle weakness and can lead to paralysis. It can spread through crowding, improper sanitation etc. it usually enters from mouth to body. Direct contact with an infected person can also be a cause of polio. The infection is caused by Poliovirus which enters the central nervous system and causes polio. Polio can be classified into 3 types:

Abortive Polio: it’s a mild form of polio disease. The person affected by this kind of polio may experience flu like symptoms but he or she may not realize that these are polio symptoms. The symptoms are often overlooked.

Another form of polio which is a more aggressive form brings on identifying symptoms of recognized poliomyelitis. It causes aseptic meningitis which can be very serious. The patient can experience the symptoms like fever and stiff neck.

The most serious and aggressive type of polio can lead to paralysis which is called flaccid paralysis. It’s the least common form of the disease. A person may become paralyzed in the arms, the legs or the other parts of the body.

Polio can also be classified in these 3 categories:

Spinal polio: this form of polio attacks the upper part of spinal cord which result in difficulty in breathing and it can also lead to the paralyses of the arms and legs. It is the most common type of polio.

Bulbar polio: this is a severe form which attacks the brainstem and the lower part of the spinal cord which results in difficulty to speak, swallow etc.

Bulbospinal polio: this form of polio is the combination of bulbar polio and spinal polio.

Polio can be prevented through immunization. Two types of polio vaccine are available:

Trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV): this vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin in 1961. This vaccine is still recommended to prevent polio all over the world.

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV): this vaccine was an injectable vaccine which was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955 which is also recommended by the doctors in order to prevent polio.

Both these vaccines were developed for children. Due to these vaccination programs, very few cases of polio are being reported in the western hemisphere which shows that polio eradication programs are continuing to be successful. But currently there is no treatment for polio once a person gets infected. So the treatments can include the medication to reduce pain, antibiotics and a breathing assistance with a ventilator.

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