Polio: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention!

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.


  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain/Body ache
  • In severe cases it can develop to:
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Poor muscle control
  • Meningitis
  • Paralysis
  • Confusion


  • Encephalitis, infection of the brain tissue.
  • Confusion
  • Mental clouding
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Pins & needles
  • Meningitis
  • 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
  • Pneumonia.


  • 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.
  • Age
  • Weak immune response
  • Malnutrition
  • Skeletal muscle injury due to injections
  • Pregnancy
  • Poverty.


  1. The physical condition is assessed first, influenza like symptoms, muscle weakness, irritability, confusion, onset of acute paralysis are noted.
  2. Stool test to detect viral load.
  3. Throat swab test.
  4. Blood test to detect presence of antibodies produced by the body in response to the virus.
  5. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) is studied by extracting from the spinal tap method for detecting excessive load of WBC’s.
  6. 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.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Orthopedic surgery.
  • Ventilator support for breathing.


  • 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.