What is polio?
Polio, also known as Poliomyelitis, is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus (PV). The infection typically spreads in areas with poor water and sewage sanitation; wild poliovirus is found in this type of environment and puts unvaccinated people at risk.
The virus enters through the mouth and multiplies in the throat and gastrointestinal tract. Virus may be excreted in throat secretions for 1–2 weeks and in stools for 3–6 weeks. Symptoms In the majority of cases, persons do not exhibit symptoms.
include fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle pain, and vomiting. In some cases, the virus attacks the Central Nervous System which causes paralysis, usually in the legs. In severe cases, patients can become quadriplegic and have difficulty breathing, swallowing, or speaking.
Which areas are high risk for polio?
Countries infected with polio, with potential risk of international spread:
Source : Global Polio Eradication Initiative, World Health Organization (WHO). You can get up to date information about polio risk destinations from: polioeradication.org
What are the 2 types of polio vaccines?
There are two vaccines used to protect against polio disease, oral polio vaccine and inactivated poliovirus vaccine.
- Oral polio vaccine
The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is used in many countries to protect against polio disease and has been essential to the eradication effort.
In the U.S., the use of the OPV vaccine was stopped in 2000, although it is still used in many parts of the world.
- Inactivated poliovirus vaccine
Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) protects people against all three types of poliovirus. IPV does not contain live virus, so people who receive this vaccine do not shed the virus and cannot infect others, and the vaccine cannot cause disease. IPV does not stop transmission of the virus. OPV is used wherever a polio outbreak needs to be contained, even in countries which rely exclusively on IPV for their routine immunization program.
Who needs polio vaccine?
Adults who are traveling to areas with increased risk of polio and who are unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or whose vaccination status is unknown should receive a series of three doses:
• two doses separated by 1 to 2 months, and
• a third dose 6 to 12 months after the second dose.
• Adults who completed the polio vaccine series as children and are traveling to areas with increased risk of polio should receive a one-time booster dose of vaccine (IPV).
Polio vaccine and pregnancy
If a pregnant woman is unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated and requires immediate protection against polio because of planned travel to a country or area where WPV or VDPV is actively circulating, IPV can be administered as recommended for adults. Breastfeeding is not a contraindication to administration of polio vaccine to an infant or mother.
Polio Key facts, from WHO
• Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age.
• 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
• Cases due to wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 33 reported cases in 2018.
• As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.
Source: who.int and cdc.gov.