Poliomyelitis, commonly called Polio is a contagious diseases that is caused by the Polio Virus. In its severe form, it can affect the limbs & CNS, following to paralysis.
Polio is of two types:
- Minor illness which does not involve the CNS, and can be normally asymptomatic
- Major illness which can involve the CNS.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Sore throat
- Nausea & vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain/Body ache
- In severe cases it can develop to:
- Pain in the extremities
- Poor muscle control
- Encephalitis, infection of the brain tissue.
- Mental clouding
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Loss of reflexes
- Pins & needles
- Extreme lethargy
- Spinal, Bulbar or Bulbospinal Paralysis.
- Partial or total loss of use of all four limbs
- Death of nerve cells that can cause muscle weakness & atrophy
- Difficulty in breathing, increased mucus secretion & suffocation
- Fluid accumulation of lungs
- Facial weakness
- Inability to breathe without ventilator support
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS FOR POLIO
- Polio is caused by the virus called Polio Virus.
- Polio Virus can be of three types, PV1, PV2 & PV3.
- PV1 is the most commonly occurring virus.
- The virus can be spread from infected feces, contaminated water, food, unhygienic area & lifestyle.
- Weak immune response
- Skeletal muscle injury due to injections
DIAGNOSIS FOR POLIO
- The physical condition is assessed first, influenza like symptoms, muscle weakness, irritability, confusion, onset of acute paralysis are noted.
- Stool test to detect viral load.
- Throat swab test.
- Blood test to detect presence of antibodies produced by the body in response to the virus.
- Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) is studied by extracting from the spinal tap method for detecting excessive load of WBC’s.
- Further nucleic acid assay tests are conducted to determine whether the virus was a wild type, or a vaccine type.
- There is no treatment present for Poliomyelitis.
- The symptoms can be managed by the use of drugs like;
- Antibiotics to prevent infections.
- Pain killers.
- Orthopedic surgery.
- Ventilator support for breathing.
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF POLIO
- The Polio Vaccine was first introduced in 1950.
- Two types of vaccines were developed;
- The first type, attenuated vaccine containing a weakened form of virus was used previously, it was given in two doses through injection & provided immunity against all three types of virus.
- The second type was the live oral vaccine, given as oral drops. Most of the people that are alive right now have been treated by this particular vaccine.
- This vaccine thus became the choice of vaccine due to the ease of administration, inexpensiveness & excellent immunity.
- Improving immunity
- Healthy nutritious diet
- Not drinking contaminated water & not eating contaminated food.
- Eradicating poverty.