What is Polio?

Polio is a condition caused by the poliovirus. Polio is a serious public health problem in India. The polio virus has an affinity for the central nervous system, which they usually reach by passage across the blood-brain barrier. Also the motor nerves supplying muscles are particularly vulnerable to infection.

Clinical Features of Polio

1. Abortive Polio:

This is a mild disease with a low-grade fever of 2-3 days duration with no other sign.

2. Paralytic Polio:

It is a major complication of poliovirus infection. It is often preceded by fever and minor illness. Classically, after several days symptoms disappear. In 5-10 days, fever recurs. Signs of meningal irritation, appear with asymmetric flaccid paralysis of the limbs. Cramping muscle pain and spasm as well as coarse twitching is apparent within a few days after first paralysis. In children less than 5 years, paralysis of one leg is most common. Muscle wasting occurs without sensory loss.

3. Bulbar Polio:

In this case brainstem is affected. Muscles of chewing, swallowing and movements of the face and tongue are affected. Early involvement of the muscles of respiration may lead to death. Speech distortion may occur.

Prevention of Polio

Oral Polio vaccine is very effective in the prevention of this disease. The greatest advantage is the ease of administration. India’s pulse polio programme has received widespread recognition the world over.