Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system, in its most severe form it causes paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death.
Poliovirus is often transmitted from person-to-person through fecal matter. People living in areas with limited access to running water or flush toilets often get the virus from drinking water contaminated by human waste that contains the virus.
The virus can also be spread by contaminated food or water or direct contact with another person. Once inside the host incubation period can take anywhere from 6-20 days and symptoms vary depending on the type of Polio.
Approximately 95 percent of polio cases are sub-clinical, and patients may not experience any symptoms. This form of polio does not affect the central nervous system
- Sore throat
- Slight fever
- Sore throat in the absence of upper respiratory infection
- Abnormal reflexes
- Problems swallowing and/or breathing
- Arm and leg pain or stiffness
- Loss of reflexes
- Severe spasms and muscle pain
- Uncontrollable or weak limbs
- Sudden paralysis
There is no cure for polio. Doctors can only treat the symptoms while the infection runs its course. However the best way to prevent Polio altogether is by getting the vaccine. The most common treatments include:
- Painkillers to relieve headaches, muscle aches, and muscle spasms
- Antibiotics for urinary tract infections
- Portable ventilators to help with breathing
- Physical therapy and/or corrective braces to help with walking
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