What Is Polio?

Polio is also known as Poliomyelitis. It is actually a viral infection (acute). Spread of polio takes place due to unclean conditions, improper drainage/sanitation of the waste liquids, crowding etc. In the beginning of 20th century, polio was a major threat to the human health, but with the development of various polio vaccines (in the mid of century), threat of polio was minimized. These days, in the first world countries, case of polio is a rare event. But in many developing countries, polio is still a major health problem. Inappropriate distribution of the vaccines is the major reason for this partiality.

Classes of polio
A virus named as “poliovirus” is responsible for the occurrence of disease. This virus attacks on digestion tract of the human beings. The disease polio can be classified in three major categories- type 3, type 2 and type 1.

Type 3 polio is the milder form of the infection. In this case of infection a patient suffers from a usual felling of flu and malaise. Patient suffers from general symptoms of a common flue. In severe cases of this class infection, polio virus enters into the stream of blood and starts the cycle of division; this causes more health related problems.

Type 2 of polio is much more aggressive then type 3. In this case, polio virus focuses on the spinal cord of the patient. It causes a serious condition, which is called as aseptic meningitis. Patient shows symptoms like- stiff neck and fever. There are chances of confusing the symptoms with the other bacterial infections, but this confusion can causes severe damage to the health of the patient. This infection can be tackled by keeping the patient rested and hydrated, on some firm and comfortable bed.

Type 1 of the polio infection is the most serious case of infection. This infection is deeply associated with the cases of paralysis. About 1% of polio cases fall in this category and this condition is known as flaccid paralysis. In this condition, the virus resists the signal transduction of muscles, which causes weakening of the muscles. In some lucky cases, body gets recovered from the infection. In such cases, natural growing of the new nerve cells occurs and then these fresh cells replace the defected ones. In other unlucky cases, a permanent disfigurement or paralysis occurs. But in some more severe cases, polio virus reaches to the lungs or brain of the patient. This state can be lethal, because in such cases patient will not be able to breathe properly.

To avoid the spread of polio virus, sufficient hygiene is necessary. In order to restrict the spread of the infection, only boiled water should be used and house should stay clean all the time. In the year of 1955, first vaccine for the polio virus was developed by Jonas Salk. This vaccine was attenuated strain of polio-virus itself. Then in 1963, Albert Sabin introduced an oral vaccine against the infection of polio, this vaccine was highly effective and still in use. In various developing countries, like India, government organizes free polio camps for the new born babies, in order to provide them the free oral vaccine of polio. Government also conducts various programs, in order to encourage people to fight against the infection of polio.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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