The polio virus can be spread by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with the virus. It can also be spread through person-to-person contact (eg, kissing) or fecal-oral contact. This type of contact is more likely to occur in unsanitary conditions.
Anyone can develop this infection. It mainly affects children under five years old. Also, it is more likely to lead to paralysis in certain people, including those who:
There is no cure for polio. Treatments to manage the symptoms of the disease include:
Ventilators to help breathing
What Is the Polio Vaccine?
The polio vaccine is made of inactivated polio virus. In the past, an oral vaccine containing live polio vaccine was used. Since there is a small risk of getting polio from the oral vaccine, it is no longer recommended. Today's polio vaccine is given by injection into the arm or leg.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
The polio vaccine is recommended for all children. The vaccine can be given to babies as young as 6 weeks. This is only done if the baby is at an increased risk of infection. The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at ages 2, 4, 6-18 months, and at 4 years. If the child receives the fourth dose before age 4 years, then he will need a fifth dose between 4-6 years.
Certain higher risk adults who did not receive the polio vaccine as children should talk with their doctors about whether they should get it. These include:
People traveling to areas of the world where polio is common
Laboratory workers who handle the polio virus
Healthcare workers who treat patients who may have polio
What Are the Risks Associated With the Polio Vaccine?
Most people have no problems with the polio vaccine. However, some experience soreness around the area where the shot was given. Like all vaccines, the polio vaccine carries a very small risk of serious reaction, such as a severe allergic reaction.
(eg, Tylenol) is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medicine may weaken the vaccine's effectiveness. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with your doctor.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Prymula R, Siegrist C, Chlibek R, et al. Effect of prophylactic paracetamol administration at time of vaccination on febrile reactions and antibody responses in children: two open-label, randomised controlled trials.
11/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding routine poliovirus vaccination.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.
1/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 Through 18 years—United States, 2010. MMWR. 2010;58(51&52):1-4.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a