Poliomyelitis

Nate Fernandes

Overview

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.

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Spread

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.

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Sub-clinical

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

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Slight fever
  • Vomiting

Non-paralytic

This form, which affects the central nervous system, produces only mild symptoms and does not result in paralysis.


  • Fever
  • Sore throat in the absence of upper respiratory infection
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Problems swallowing and/or breathing
  • Arm and leg pain or stiffness

Paralytic

This is the rarest and most serious form of Polio, which produces full or partial paralysis in the patient. There are three types of paralytic polio: spinal polio (affects the spine), bulbar polio (affects the brainstem), and bulbospinal polio (affects the spine and brainstem).

  • Loss of reflexes
  • Severe spasms and muscle pain
  • Uncontrollable or weak limbs
  • Sudden paralysis

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Iron Lung

A machine invented in the 1920s to allow for the artificial breathing of patients who no longer had control of their lungs. The machine alters the pressure in the rectangular metal box to push air in and out of the lungs. As of 2004, 39 people in America were still in these machines.

Cure

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:


  • Rest
  • 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

Jonas Salk

The American medical researcher and virologist who invented the vaccine in 1955. He first tested it on himself, his wife, and his three sons.

WHO/CDC/health dept.

Almost all organizations around the world call for the immediate eradication of Polio. The virus has seen a 99% decrease since 1988 and is still only prevalent in countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The disease has been completely removed from the west thanks to sanitation and the vaccine.
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Works Cited

Health Organization. "Polio." Healthline. Who, 2 June 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


Medical News Today. "Polio:causes, Symptoms and Treatments." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


Nvic. "Polio SV40 Vaccine- Diseases and Vaccines - NVIC." National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). National Vaccine Information Center, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Polio." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Sept. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Afghanistan, January 2014–August 2015.


" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Oct. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.