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Eradicating and Preventing Polio

The polio virus is a particularly virulent one that comes in three sub-types. Of the three sub-types, only one can cause the debilitating effects that leave a person paralyzed or dead. The three sub-types of the polio virus are called abortive polio, non-paralytic polio and the paralytic polio. The last one is the virus type that can cause paralysis. It also has three strains, all of which can render a person crippled or paralyzed.
Eradicating the Disease
In order to eradicate this virus, a global effort is underway to bring vaccines to those countries that have outbreaks of the virus. Most of these countries have regions where there is a distinct lack of sanitation and clean water. The lack of these is not necessarily because of the lack of effort on the part of that country’s government but more on the priorities that may take precedence of these. Many of the countries where polio is prevalent have ongoing wars or disputes that affect the people. Although the movement to eradicate polio is present in most of these countries, the wars can be the reason why it is particularly difficult to reach the individuals who need the vaccines and medication and to give them to those who need them.
Vaccines are needed to immunize a person from the virus. The OPV is the most common type of vaccine that health workers and volunteers bring with them to countries that need these. It is actually a weakened form of the polio virus that stays in the intestines and gives immunity to the individual. It is administered through oral drops, which make its administration very easy without the need for a doctor or a nurse to do so. It is also cheaper than the other form of vaccine that is available. The other kind of vaccine is in an injectable form. It is commonly used in first world countries that may have already gotten rid of the polio virus. It is more expensive to produce and manufacture because it is derived from a killed form of the virus.
Ways to Prevent Infection
Although there are already vaccines to help get rid of polio, people still need to practice good hygiene in order to avoid getting the virus or any other sickness that is routed through hands and ingestion. Doctors and health workers always make it a point to highlight the importance of having clean hands when preparing food and drinks. This is especially true when a person has just come from the comfort room. Washing thoroughly is just as necessary as using an effective soap when washing hands. Another way to prevent an infection is to have the right vaccinations when travelling. The United States Government issues health alerts for their citizens before they travel and when they are in countries that may still have some cases of polio. Before going out of the US it is best to update one’s vaccinations and medications in order to reduce the risks of contracting any diseases or sicknesses abroad.

Polio Vaccines used for Humans

The polio virus is a strong one that occurs in human beings. It is spread when food or water is contaminated with the feces or fecal matter of an infected person and ingested. Young children with underdeveloped immune systems and adults with a compromised immune system are the usual victims of this virus. After ingestion, the virus stations itself in the intestines where it multiplies. It will eventually enter the blood stream of the infected individual and travel to either the brain, the central nervous system or to both. The kind of sub-type virus that has infected the individual will be apparent in where it ends up. The symptoms of the infection may also be different, depending on the place where the virus eventually ends up.
IPV
The Inactivated Polio Vaccine, otherwise known as IPV, is derived from a dead or killed virus. This means that it cannot turn into a virulent form at any time. It is commonly used in countries that can actually say that they do not have the virus in their midst anymore but still use the IPV to make sure that their citizens are protected in case the virus makes a return. This kind of vaccine is costlier to manufacture as well as administer. This is primarily because it is in an injectable form and it takes nurses or doctors to give injections. These professionals are usually highly paid, which is why it becomes more costly. The efficacy of the vaccine is basically very good.
OPV
Oral Polio Vaccine is the more affordable type of vaccine is a weakened form of the virus. This means that it is still active but in its weak form. It is administered in drops straight to the mouth which means it can be administered by an untrained individual. Since it does not require nurses or doctors to administer and its form is no injectable, it is basically cheaper than the IPV. This kind of vaccine is also highly effective and renders the intestines immune to any form of the virus. There is one drawback to this type of vaccine and this is that it can rarely revive and turn into a virulent form and infecting the individual who ingested it. It is very rare which is why it is still available worldwide and still being used for many children.
Both forms of the vaccine need to be administered several times in the life of the individual. Doctors recommend at least three or more doses, depending on the health of the child. The first dose is given within three month of the child’s birth and the second dose just a few months afterwards. A final booster is supposed to be given when the child is around the age of seven or before school age. The child needs to be given additional doses if he or she is not healthy or have some problems with nutrition.
The use of both vaccines has yielded positive results. The drive to eradicate polio is ongoing and more people are helped daily.

Three Types of Polio that Occur in People

There are three types of polio that can occur in people. These are the sub-clinical form, non-paralytic and the paralytic forms. All three kinds of polio are transmitted via the fecal-oral route, which means that one cannot identify which is which until the symptoms come out. The virus has an incubation period of three to thirty-five days, minimum and maximum, but usually is only around six to twenty days. The virus is usually present in the mouth and throat and may be in the feces for around three to six weeks after the first symptoms come out.
Sub-Clinical Form
This type of polio is the one that is most common and can infect a lot of people but has no manifestations whatsoever for most individuals. If there are any symptoms that occur, these are usually quite mild; such as flu-like symptoms and fatigue. Usually, a person who was infected with this type of polio forms immunity to it but not to the other two. Although a second infection of a different type can occur, this is very rare and seldom happens. Usually, in these cases, the virus occurs primarily in the stomach or colon and has not travelled to the central nervous system or the brain.
Non-Paralytic Form
The non-paralytic type of the polio virus manifests itself with symptoms very much like that of the paralytic one but in milder forms only. Muscle stiffness and headaches are among the most common signs of this infection. When a person is diagnosed with this type of polio, doctors will want to test how his or her muscles fare regularly. Most of the time, there are no visible manifestations of the infection but many doctors believe there should be some form of damage to the nerves or muscles, which may manifest in the form of Post-Polio Syndrome.
Paralytic Polio Form
The paralytic form of polio is actually the rarest type that occurs in human beings, in comparison to the other two listed above. This type of polio has three subtypes, all of which affect the body in the form of paralysis or degeneration of the muscles. The spine, the brainstem or both may be affected by this type of virus. All three kinds of viruses end with some of paralysis or another. The most deadly is the one that affects the muscles that are used for the function of breathing and swallowing. The paralysis usually lasts for a lifetime and may even grow worse.
All three types of polio can be addressed by the two vaccines that have been developed for the explicit purpose of eradicating or managing the disease. Both vaccines are derived from the polio virus but are administered differently. The IPV is an injectable that is derived from a dead form of the polio virus. This is commonly used in countries where the virus is supposed to be eliminated already. The OPV is derived from a live form of the virus in a weakened state. It is administered though oral drops.

The Dangers of Contracting Polio

Polio is a viral infection that has been around for centuries. It used to be found all over the world but efforts to control it have localized it to just several countries and the occasional outbreak. In spite of the positive news, the risk of it being contracted by people who live in a polio free environment is still there as long as it is still present in some countries. Before it was controlled and eradicated in many of the first world countries, it was one of the diseases that was most feared globally. The reason behind the fear is because it can cause paralysis and even death to those that is has infected. A very large percentage of the individuals who are infected with polio actually do not feel any symptoms. In fact, they are basically carriers with no manifestations that they harbor the deadly disease. Some of those who are infected might feel some of the symptoms but on a lesser level.
Risks of the Disease
Polio is a virus that is passed from one person to another through the ingestion of contaminated food and water. Rarely, it is passed through the saliva in contact with another person. There are three types of polio and of these three, only the rarest type can actually cause the dreaded atrophy and paralysis that deform many individuals.
Paralysis and atrophy are the two risks that an individual is exposed to when he or she comes in contact with a person who has the disease. Although it has been stated that the usual way that the virus gets into another human being is through the fecal-oral route, there have been times when just living with an infected individual might be cause for alarm. Of course, this is when the virus is still active. Many adults who have been exposed to the viral infection may have already been treated for the presence of the virus and are not carriers. Full paralysis does not happen often but it can.
Another risk that a person might need to deal with if she or he contracts polio is when the disease affects the lungs. When the lungs start to get paralyzed, one can die because of the incapacity of the organs to process air for the body. When a person manifests strange symptoms, it is always a good idea to visit a doctor to have a checkup. The symptoms may start with some mild form of paralysis in the arms or legs which may also be felt somewhere else in the body. Some difficulty breathing might also be experienced by the individual. If left unattended, the paralysis may settle in and continue to grow worse.
Another risk that a person carries when he or she is infected with polio is being a carrier. A person may harbor the virus and be an active carrier without any signs that it is there. If he or she is not a sanitary person, contamination might happen if that individual prepares food or drinks.

Dealing with a Possible Polio Exposure

Polio is a disease that is contracted from a virus that can cause paralysis and atrophy in the limbs as well as other integral parts of the body. Other side effects of this disease include, but are not limited to, the malfunction of the lungs and other vital organs and even death. In most cases, an individual does not even know that he or she has been exposed to the virus because there are no manifestations of it aside from minor discomfort and flu like symptoms. After these have manifested, the infection runs its course of stiffness and pain initially, after which paralysis of the limbs and their atrophy will eventually set in.
When a person thinks that he or she has been exposed to the Polio virus it is best to go to a doctor immediately. The doctor can do some tests to check if the individual has indeed contracted Polio. The test is usually some kind of blood test that will immediately show the results; no need to wait for several days for it. If the individual does have the Polio virus in his or her body, the doctor will immediately proscribe some medication that can arrest the development of complications. Time is of the essence when it comes to this virus and a person should follow the prescription of the doctor as well as his recommendations when it comes to this. Pain relievers and some antibiotic might be prescribed for the individual if the blood test shows an infection.
Lowering the Risks of Exposure
Although the United States of America has been relatively Polio free for the past several decades, it still prevails in some other countries and occasionally outbreaks pop up in others that thought they had it in control. The key to eradicating this disease is to vaccinate babies and to help make people aware of the need to be clean and sanitary. The vaccinations work to immunize individuals, especially children, from the virus. Both IPV and OPV work very well in doing this through injections (IPV) and oral administration (OPV).
Another way to lower the risk of getting the dreaded polio virus is to practice cleanliness and be very aware of sanitation. Hand washing after using the toilet is something that should be instilled in both children and adults to minimize the risks of contracting Polio as well as other sicknesses and diseases that might use the fecal-oral route into a person’s body. When preparing food, the individual should wash hands thoroughly and use a sanitizer or soap. Health experts explain that hand washing should be done carefully starting with using an effective soap and lathering this in and around the fingers, on top of the hands and around the wrists. This should be done with a light scrubbing motion that before rinsing thoroughly.
These are just a few ways to prevent infection of the Polio virus. It is always a good idea to check the local health office for health alerts before travelling.

Eradicating Polio and Helping Patients

Polio is a debilitating disease that can also lead to death if the individual is not careful. It is contracted through a virus that uses the fecal-oral route to enter the human host. It is especially prevalent in areas and regions that may have problems with sanitation and hygiene. The result of contracting this viral infection manifests in the limbs. In most patients, one limb or the limbs on one side of the body become paralyzed and atrophied. The function of the limb or limbs is destroyed and so is its appearance. The most common route that the virus takes in order to infect people is through the fecal-oral route. Weak individuals who consume food or water that is contaminated with it are the ones who usually fall victim to it. Children are the weakest members of society along with the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Prevention but No Cure
There is no cure for Polio and those who are infected with it can only manage the disease. When a person contracts the disease, he or she develops immunity to it. Most of the time, the results of contracting it is basically fine and there is just some discomfort and pain initially. There are some cases when the virus enters the central nervous system and affects the nerves and the limbs attached to these nerves. Paralysis and atrophy are the results of this kind of infection. There is no reversal for any of the aftereffects of contracting polio. Despite having no cure, the polio infection can be managed in a person. Medications can actually halt or minimize the progress of the paralysis and atrophy while pain killers can manage the discomfort and pain that come with it. Managing the disease may be the only hope for some individuals.
Preventing the virus from claiming more lives and limbs can be done. Health experts promote the use of vaccines to give children and others immunity. The two kinds of vaccines that have been developed to prevent infection are IPV and OPV. IPV is an injectable derived from a dead strain of the virus, rendering it unable to develop into any other form of polio when it is injected into the body. It is highly effective and the risks of the person getting polio are next to nil. The problem with this vaccine is the cost that it takes to produce it. It is a bit expensive which is why only advanced countries can afford to make it available to its citizens. OPV, on the other hand, is cheaper to make but is derived from a live strain of the polio virus. This makes the risks of contracting it after it has been administered, through drops via the mouth, a bit higher compared to the IPV vaccine.
The eradication of this hateful disease is the aim of many different organizations. These organizations have workers and volunteers who travel the world to bring the vaccines and medicines to those who need them.

Polio Exposure Risks

A person is vulnerable to polio at any point of his or her life. While the virus has been eradicated from most of the advanced countries in the world, it is still rampant in some third world countries and may occur in many of them. People who generally stay out of countries that have a high occurrence of this virus can rest assured that the risk of them contracting this viral infection is decidedly lower. On the other hand, there are some individuals who travel to foreign countries and might contract the virus while on their trip.
The Polio vaccine comes in two forms and the most common type in the United States is the IPV. The injectable is a dead version of the polio virus and is initially given to the individual at the first month or two months of life. The following three doses are given around 6 months, then maximum of 18 months and the last booster at a maximum of six years of age. Doctors prefer that the child complete the round of IPV before he or she enters school. OPV, given orally is more dominantly used in third world countries as the vaccine because it is cheaper and easier to administer.
Travel and Exposure
There are different risks that accompany a person who travels, and contracting a disease is one of them. The United States government urges its citizens to acquire vaccinations in order to combat whatever disease or virus that they might be exposed to during their travels. While there are specific vaccinations that health experts require when people visit specific corners of the world, there is no harm in getting whatever vaccine is available, even if the country where one is going is not known for it.
When one is exposed to the polio virus, the risk of contracting it depends on the health of the individual. Children below the age of seven usually have a higher risk of contracting it because of their weak, underdeveloped immune system. It is still not as fully developed as those of adults so they need the extra protection of vaccines and mediation to prevent them from contracting any disease. Healthy adults are basically well protected because of their fully developed immune systems. Those with compromised immune systems might need to rethink travelling to risky places without a vaccination. The elderly are also at risk of getting infected with this viral disease because of their weakened immune system.
When children contract polio, their symptoms and effects vary. Some of the individuals who get the virus may experience some discomfort and pain during the period that the polio virus is active in their system. Children almost always develop the paralysis and atrophy that cause their limbs not to function. Healthy adults might experience pain and discomfort but do not develop the debilitating paralysis and atrophy, others are not so fortunate. Those that have a weak immune system develop the disease and have limbs that do not develop properly and do not function properly anymore.

Polio Prevention for Children and Adults

Polio is a debilitating disease that can cause severe paralytic effects on people and sometimes even death. It is in the form of a virus that is usually contracted through ingestion of contaminated food and water. The viral infection causes an initial discomfort and stiffness that could last several weeks. The discomfort and stiffness usually occurs in the neck and limbs and can be disconcerting because some degree of pain is felt by the individual. The virus can attack the spine and cause inflammation that affects the limbs. Atrophy and paralysis of the limbs are the usual results of the infection. The lungs can also be affected and the use of an apparatus to help with regular breathing is often recommended.
Vaccination and Medication
Like most other viral infections, polio usually affects those who are weak, such as children, the elderly and those with a weak immune system. The use of vaccines is the most effective way of preventing Polio from occurring in an individual. There are two different kinds of vaccines that are globally used to prevent the disease. The most commonly used Polio vaccine in third world countries is the OPV. It is administered orally and many doctors and health experts find that this is a very effective and efficient way of administration. Effective because it really gives immunity to the individual and efficient because the oral route is usually one of lesser resistance compared to an injection. Children are the usual recipients of the vaccine and many of them are scared of injections even though they are also somewhat scared of the oral administration. The IPV vaccine is given through an injection. As expected, there is usually immense opposition in children when it comes to administering the vaccine. Since the initial vaccination is given when the child is around two months old, there is little resistance at this point. Boosters and follow up vaccinations are given at intervals until the child reaches the age of five or seven. When children realize that injections inflict some pain, they become seriously adamant when faced with an injection. A lot of resistance is to be expected during these times.
Medicine can also be given to infected individuals to prevent further complications from developing. There is actually no cure for Polio and the medication can only prevent the paralysis from spreading and from taking a stronger hold on the patient. Pain relievers are also prescribed to the patients in order to help with their pain and discomfort. Going on a nutritious diet, formulated to address the needs of an individual affected with polio, is also another way of helping the person manage the presence of the disease. Regular exercise and other physical therapy programs help to maximize movement of the individual to prevent further atrophy of the limbs and other muscles.
Another way of polio prevention is to keep good hygiene and to avoid high risk instances when infection might occur. Exposure to recently infected individuals should be avoided because the virus can be very active.

The Benefits of Polio Eradication

The eradication of the Polio virus has been a priority of many different health and medical organizations worldwide. The reason behind the drive to get rid of this deadly disease basically amounts to the need to have healthy and diseases-free individuals all over the world.
What is Polio?
Many people correctly believe that this virus causes the atrophy of limbs, rendering people crippled for life, but this is just one aspect of the disease. There are other much deadlier side effects of the virus which can manifest in the human body. The disease usually infects individuals through the fecal-oral route, which means ingesting food or water contaminated with it. The oral-oral route is an unusual but not unheard of way of contracting the virus.
There are two kinds of polio manifestations, namely, the non-paralytic and the paralytic types. In the former, the initial symptoms are flu-like and develop into muscle spasms, muscle tenderness, stiffness of limbs and/or meningitis. The latter, on the other hand, starts with similar symptoms but ends with atrophy or paralysis of the limbs. Sometimes, affected areas might be the lungs which will ultimately require the individual to use a breathing apparatus in order to survive. This is a very deadly disease that caused widespread death and debilitation.
Eradicating the Disease
While there is no treatment for polio, it can be prevented from infecting another person. Those who have recently contracted it might also have a chance to prevent further complications from developing as well as be able to manage the side effects of the virus.
Vaccination is a surefire way of reducing the risks of contracting this deadly disease. There are two kinds of vaccines that are currently used worldwide to prevent the spread of the disease. These are the inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). IPV is commonly used in the United States of America and consists of giving a child several injections starting from two months of age up to four to six years of age. OPV is the vaccine of choice for many countries, especially in the third world, because of its low cost, easy administrations (especially for children who often resist injections) and the immunity that it provides for the individual. One downside that the OPV has is a rare occurrence when it reverts and develops into a kind of poliovirus that can render its victim paralyzed.
For those who might have contracted the disease recently, there are some medications and measures that can help them deal with the side effects of the disease. Because it can weaken a person’s immune system, antibiotics may be needed to stem the occurrence of infections and analgesics to help manage the pain that is associated with the disease. Physiotherapy is also commonly recommended for individual who have the disease along with a nutritious diet that is fitting for the patient. Lung paralysis, another side effect or symptoms of having the disease can be treated with the use of an iron lung. This will help the individual breathe artificially in order to survive.

Who is at Risk of Polio?

The modern world is not so familiar anymore of the polio virus which used to be prevalent in several countries just a few decades ago. Efforts to stem this highly infectious, viral disease have produced favorable results, especially in countries that were aware of the risks of having this in their midst; but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Eradication is mostly complete in many of the first-world countries that have participated in the global movement to save their citizens. The problem of effective eradication lies mainly in third-world countries, as well as in countries that have not joined in the massive effort to that get rid of the disease.
Protecting Children and Other Citizens
To get rid of the polio virus, there are a lot of things that the government, health agencies and the citizens need to be aware of. Among the things that people need to be aware of is who are most at risk of contracting this deadly disease. Like many other viruses, it is highly transmissible to children below the age of five. This may be due to their underdeveloped immune systems as well as their lack of hygiene at this age and below. Children who live in regions that lack a clean water supply, in remote areas that have no access to immunization and other medicines and those with poor sanitation are prone to the virus if it is present in the country.
This deadly disease renders children and those it infects with either paralytic polio, spinal polio or bulbar polio; the most common kind being the one that affects the spine. It causes some forms of paralysis and atrophy in the limbs.
Fecal-oral and oral-oral routes are the usual ways of transmission for polio. The fecal-oral route is the most common way that a child might be infected with the virus. This is through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. In places with poor hygiene and minimal supply of clean running water, this is something that usually happens. The other method of transmission (oral-oral route) is a highly unusual way to contract polio and can occur anywhere in the world through the infected person’s saliva. Both methods of transmission can occur in public swimming pools, which is why these are closed when an epidemic occurs in a region.
Vaccination and Medication
The efforts to get vaccination and other medicines, to people who need it, have been made by many organizations and government agencies. The vaccination can prevent the infection of an individual. The medications can relieve symptoms, speed up recovery and help to prevent complications from developing. Other supportive measures include, but are not limited to, moderate exercises, antibiotics, the appropriate diet and pain relievers.
The application of the measures to eradicate polio will benefit the world. Awareness of the risks of this virus can spur the movement to get rid of it. In connection to this, the facilities and efforts to get rid of other diseases can follow.