The poliovirus is the illness that causes polio (poliomyelitis). Most people only experience minimal or no symptoms, but in a few, it might result in death or paralysis.
The three poliovirus variants are known as wild poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3. (WPV1, WPV2 and WPV3). Only a few regions of the world still have wild polio type 1, and wild polio types 2 and 3 have been eradicated (no longer exist). Paralysis is most likely to result from type 1 polio.
In several places of the world, polio cases are still present today. International efforts to eliminate polio are still underway, despite the fact that the number of infected individuals has significantly decreased.
The inactivated poliovirus vaccine should be given as a booster dose to adults who have already received it and are travelling to a region where polio is present. After receiving a booster, immunity is permanent.
Types of polio
Depending on the parts of your body the virus targets and multiplies in, polio can have various effects on you. the following types of polio:
- Abortive poliomyelitis manifests as intestinal and influenza-like symptoms. It doesn’t have long-lasting effects and just lasts a few days.
- Aseptic meningitis, a brain swelling, may result from non-paralytic poliomyelitis. It results in more symptoms than abortive poliomyelitis and can necessitate a hospital stay.
- Paralytic poliomyelitis: When the poliovirus affects your brain and spinal cord, paralytic poliomyelitis results. The muscles that allow you to breathe, speak, swallow, and move your limbs can become paralysed by it. It is referred to as spinal polio or bulbar polio, depending on which areas of your body are afflicted. Together, spinal and bulbar polio can manifest (bulbospinal polio). Only 1% of polio survivors develop paralytic poliomyelitis.
- Polioencephalitis: A uncommon form of polio that primarily affects newborns is polioencephalitis. The brain swells as a result.
- Post-polio syndrome: When polio symptoms reappear years after an initial infection, it is known as post-polio syndrome.
What effects does polio have on my body?
Through the mouth or nose, the poliovirus enters your body. In your gut and throat, it reproduces additional copies of itself (intestines). It can sometimes enter your brain and spinal cord and paralyse you. Your arms, legs, or the muscles that control your breathing may become paralysed.
Who is exposed to polio?
You are most vulnerable to contracting polio if if are not immunised and you:
- reside in or visit a region where polio still exists.
- live in or visit a place with inadequate sanitary conditions.
- are less than 5
- are expecting.
Can adults contract polio?
Yes, polio can strike adults. Many adults have immunity, either through vaccinations or from having polio. Unvaccinated adults who are exposed to the poliovirus can get the disease.
How widespread is polio?
Thanks to widespread immunisation campaigns, symptomatic polio is uncommon in many regions of the world. Polio is no longer distributed there, and most nations consider it to be eradicated. However, polio can start to spread again if individuals stop taking their vaccinations.
The majority of those who are infected with the virus don’t become sick and are unaware they are infected, despite the fact that polio can result in paralysis and death.
Polio not paralytic
Some persons who experience polio symptoms get a kind of polio that doesn’t cause paralysis (abortive polio). The mild, flu-like signs and symptoms that are typical of other viral infections are typically caused by this.
The following signs and symptoms, which may persist up to 10 days:
- unwell throat
- back stiffness or pain
- neck stiffness or discomfort
- Arms or legs that are painful or stiff
- a weakened or painful muscle
Rarely does the disease manifest in its most severe form. Fever and headache are common early paralytic polio symptoms that can be mistaken for nonparalytic polio. But after a week, more symptoms start to show, such as:
- decline in reflexes
- muscular weakness or excruciating aches
- slack and flaccid limbs (flaccid paralysis)
Some patients have post-polio syndrome, a collection of incapacitating signs and symptoms, years after they had polio. Typical warning signs and symptoms include:
- discomfort and deteriorating muscle or joint weakness
- muscles are lost (atrophy)
- issues with breathing or swallowing
- respiratory issues that affect sleep, like sleep apnea
- less ability to tolerate cold temperatures
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