Identification and Definition
History of Polio
Signs and Symptoms
About 3/4 of those infected with poliovirus do not have visible symptoms. The other 1/4 may experience:
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
After 2-5 days these symptoms generally pass, but a small percentage of those with symptoms may end up with meningitis (1/25) or paralysis (1/200).
These cases may seem rare, but when 57,000 people are infected as in 1952, the sufferers of the rare outcome become many.
While it affects children most commonly, it can still be contracted at any age.
- Developing meningitis (infection of the brain/spinal cord coverings) can result in death.
- Paralysis can make life very difficult and sometimes result in death if it affects the sufferer's ability to breathe.
- Post-polio syndrome can occur in those who fully develope the disease. Post-polio can affect a person later in life up to 40 years after the infection. This can cause muscle pain, weakness, and paralysis.
The eradication of polio is a global initiative. The U.S. has been polio free (not counting cases brought in from outside the country) since 1980, and 80% of the world population lives in polio free countries. Polio is still endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Countries experiencing outbreak include Madagascar, Guinea, and Ukraine. Current efforts require funding for mass production of the vaccine and outreach to countries with poor public health standards. With well-rounded vaccine practices implemented everywhere possible, the goal of global eradication is within reach.