Polio is defined as a hazardous disease, which mostly affects children. Also termed as ‘acute anterior poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis’, this disease mostly occurs in an epidemic form. Even though it is known to affect children, anyone can catch this disease.
How does an individual catch polio?
Polio virus is the cause of Polio. It enters the body through the mouth and goes down to the intestine. From here it enters the blood stream and is passed to different body organs via the nerves. As the brain and central nervous system are attacked by this virus, the spinal cord cells get damaged. This results in malfunctioning of nerve cells resulting in loss of control and lack of movement. The muscles get paralyzed. Mostly it affects the leg and arm muscles but it can also damage the spinal cord.
Symptoms of Polio
Polio can attack any part of the human body. One of the major symptoms of a polio attack is mild headache in the patient. Gradually they develop fever and their throats become sore. In children, feeling of vomiting and sleepiness is there. The body temperature also shoots up every couple of days and there is severe pain in the body. The neck gradually becomes harder and different body parts get paralyzed. The legs tend to get affected the most. There may be times when the virus damages the upper portion of the spinal cord completely. This results in choking and lack of proper breathing, ultimately leading to death.
A vaccine for Polio was formulated by Dr. Jonas Salk from USA. This anti-polio vaccine was available from 1955. Each patient has to take three injections of the same, at specific intervals for protection against the polio infection.
Those who have polio usually die at an earlier age or get paralyzed for life. U.S, Germany, India, etc. are some of the countries that got affected by polio epidemics. Thousands were killed during this period.