By: Alec McCoy


Polio is the viral infection of the nervous system that can eventually cause paralysis, disability and even death.


The Polio virus destroys selected nerves in your nervous system.


If it enters though the mouth it will quickly replicate and enter the blood stream. From the bloodstream the virus will begin attacking many of motor neuron cells that control the muscles

for the arms and legs as well as for swallowing, respiration and circulation. Even though it is known for paralyzing its victims only 1 in every 200 patients becomes paralyzed.


Polio can be transmitted in any one of the following ways...

  • Direct contact with infected life-form.
  • Contact with infected mucus or phlegm from the nose or mouth.
  • Contact with infected feces.

The time from being infected with the virus to developing symptoms of disease ranges from on average 7-14 days. Most people don't develop symptoms.

Who does it victimize:

Anyone of any age who comes in contact with a person or thing that is infected by the polio virus most of the time will become a host but might not develop symptoms.


Now since we've had increases in medical quality we have eradicated the virus in all but 3 countries.




But the Global Polio Eradication Action Plan aims to boost vaccination coverage in those countries.


The 3 basic patterns of the polio infection are: subclinical infections, nonparalytic, and paralytic. Most people have the subclinical infection though, and its symptoms are:

  • General discomfort or uneasiness
  • Headache
  • Red throat
  • Slight fever
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting

Degree of Damage:

If it doesn't effect the Brain or spinal cord then a complete recovery is highly likely.

If it does effect the Brain or spinal cord then it is a medical emergency and paralysis and or death is highly likely, although disability is more common than death.


Symptoms are treated based on their severity. Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics for urinary tract infections
  • Moist heat (heating pads, warm towels) to reduce muscle pain and spasms
  • Painkillers to reduce headache, muscle pain, and spasms (narcotics are not usually given because they increase the risk of breathing trouble)
  • Physical therapy, braces or corrective shoes, or orthopedic surgery to help recover muscle strength and function

Interesting Facts:

  • Polio was the virus that killed the 32nd president of the United States (FDR).
  • In 95% of the cases there were no symptoms.
  • One in every 200 infections lead to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs).
  • Among those Paralyzed 5 to 10% of them die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.