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History And Current Information About Polio

History of Polio

Polio is caused by a virus that has been in existence for more than one thousand years; it has different names and is wide spread across the globe. The virus and disease of polio are commonly called poliomyelitis, which was derived from a combination of Greek words. Polio disease is caused by a highly infectious enterovirus known as poliovirus (PV) which initially infects young children and can get passed through direct contact from person to person. Polio gets spread through infected mucus, feces, or by contact with food and water that is contaminated by the infected person’s feces. The virus usually multiplies in the gastrointestinal tract where it can effectively damage the nervous system causing permanent neurological damage in individuals. Most individuals will not have information about polio infections in their body, and as they develop weak symptoms, the infections will have spread through the infected individual's stool.

Signs and symptoms of Polio

The extent of the infection determines the signs and symptoms of polio, and these can be divided as paralytic and non-paralytic polio. In the latter which accounts for individuals affected with polio will remain asymptomatic or have mild flu-kind symptoms, which include fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat, vomiting, etc. The former type of polio occurs in about two percent of people, and this is a more serious condition. Symptoms are seen as a result of nervous or spinal cord infection. Abnormal sensation, issues in swallowing, urinary retention, drooling, difficulty in breathing, mood swings, severe head ache, muscle pains and cramps and eventually paralysis. A very small percentage of the infected people with paralytic polio died due to the infection.

Causes of Poliomyelitis

The major symptoms of Polio are caused by the poliovirus that causes the disease. The poliovirus is a small RNA virus which gets transmitted through the oral mucosa. The virus of polio attaches to the cells and infects the intestinal cells, multiplies there and finally gets excreted through the stool of the infected person. In very rare cases, the virus spreads from the gastrointestinal tract to the nervous system of the body of the affected individual and causes paralytic disease in the person. Even today this virus is found to be contributing to the cause of Polio diseases across the globe.

How is polio treated?

There has been no cure for polio to date and prevention is the best way to stop the spreading of polio in humans. Patients who have developed non paralytic polio need to be monitored for any progression to paralytic polio, which is fatal. A patient who already has paralytic polio needs to be monitored for symptoms of failure of the respiratory tract for which support systems like respiratory support may be needed in rare cases. Some of the less severe symptoms or common symptoms can be treated with the normal treatment techniques. There are several cases in which patients have recovered from polio, but they require physiotherapy, braces on legs or hands, or even surgeries to bring a progressive improvement to their physical functions. Get to know about polio and try to prevent the disease from spreading across the country. Polio vaccines are the existing preventive method for poliomyelitis.

By Nikky Prasad, published at 02/27/2012
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