Polio and prevention

Topic Selected: Global Health

General Article icon Type: General Article
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunising every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.

The disease

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.

Who is at risk?

Polio can strike at any age, but it mainly affects children under five years old.

Transmission

Polio is spread through person-to-person contact. When a child is infected with wild poliovirus, the virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. It is then shed into the environment through the faeces where it can spread rapidly through a communit

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