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CLOSE THIS BOOKFact sheet No 114: Poliomyelitis - Revised April 2001 (WHO, 2001, 4 p.)
VIEW THE DOCUMENT(introduction...)
VIEW THE DOCUMENTThe Global Polio Eradication Initiative
VIEW THE DOCUMENTCountries at Risk of Polio
VIEW THE DOCUMENTChallenges Faced in Polio Eradication
VIEW THE DOCUMENTImpact of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
VIEW THE DOCUMENTFuture Benefits of Polio Eradication

Revised April 2001

Poliomyelitis and its symptoms: Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Amongst the paralysed patients, 5%-10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

Persons at risk of polio: Polio mainly affects children under three years of age.

Prevention of polio: As there is no cure for polio, the best treatment is preventive. A few drops of a powerful vaccine, given multiple times, will protect a child for life.

Polio caseload: In 2000, there were fewer than 3500 reported polio cases worldwide. Tens of thousands more children are infected with the virus; while they do not suffer paralysis, they can infect other children.


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