Polio is a contagious viral illness of the spinal cord, which affects the brain as well as the higher structures. The nervous system malfunction leads to paralysis-affecting the brain motors. It is a contagious disease which can be prevented by vaccination. It spreads from person to person through contaminated food and water.
Polio is a disabling disease as it affects different parts of our body. There are three types of paralytic Polio:
Spinal Polio: It is the most common form of Polio and it causes paralysis of the muscles in the legs and arms. It also affects the muscles that control our breathing.
Bulbar Polio: This type of Polio affects the cranial nerves which control our seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and swallowing. It basically affects the person’s ability to eat, speak or even breathe. Bulbar Polio can be fatal without respiratory support.
Bulbospinal Polio: The combination of bulbar and spinal Polio results in Bulbospinal Polio. People with this condition suffer paralysis of the arms and legs. It also can affect breathing or lead to heart dysfunction.
Majority of the people who are infected with Polio virus do not become sick or are not aware that they have been infected with Polio. The people who develop symptoms from the virus contract non-paralytic Polio. And the symptoms are usually similar to flu or any other viral illness.
The other symptoms of Polio include:
- High fever
- Sore throat
- Neck pain
- Muscle spasms
The Polio virus prevails only among the humans and it enters the environment through the faeces of the infected person. It spreads primarily through the faecal-oral route, especially in the areas where there is lack of proper sanitation. It can also spread through contaminated water and food or even through direct contact with someone who is already infected with the virus.
Polio can be prevented through vaccination, but once affected with the virus, it cannot be cured and the person has to live with the disability.
For Polio, once should consult a General Physician.