Polio is a highly contagious pediatric infection caused by viruses, frequently resulting in the onset of paralysis and death of the patient.
Since a vaccine is available, the disease incidence has fallen sharply across the world. As fewer people are vaccinated, there is currently a resurgence of disease in both developing countries than in industrialized countries.
The pathogen of the disease is poliovirus, highly contagious, transmitted by the postilions emitted during speech, coughing or sneezing, but also by contact (from infected feces).
The incubation period, ie the time between infection and the onset of symptoms is 5 to 14 days in those very rare cases, it can reach 35 days.
Initially, the disease is manifested by an influenza-like illness with fever, general depression, headache and muscle aches in the limbs, loss of appetite, diarrhea, fever and difficulty swallowing, which may be followed by a period without symptoms.
During the second phase of the disease, the pathogen penetrates the central nervous system and the following symptoms are emerging:
Strict bed rest, even in case of suspicion of polio. If a patient develops paralysis, should be changed regularly the position of the patient, long-term therapy, artificial ventilation and intensive care. Polio has no drug treatment.
Without proper treatment, bacterial infections of the respiratory tract can cause paralysis of respiratory muscles. In addition, polio can be complicated by inflammation of the myocardium, also called myocarditis, which may be responsible for a clinical heart failure.
The best prevention is vaccination. Before the vaccine era (1962), the disease was one of the most terrible scourges of childhood in industrialized countries. The 50s were one of the darkest periods of polio with onset in many deaths.