Polio Facts...

  • 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.
  • Humans are the only know "reservoirs" on the polio virus - it is not carried by animals or insects.
  • Person-to-person transmission generally is via a fecal-oral route from people inapparent infections.
  • One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Between five and ten per cent of people infected with polio die when their breathing muscles are paralyzed.
  • Polio mainly affects children under five years of age.
  • As there is no cure for polio, the best treatment is preventive. A few drops of a powerful vaccine will protect a child for life.
  • In 1988 when the Rotary International Polio Plus campaign began in earnest, approximately 350,000 cases of polio were reported worldwide in 120 countries. Only 10% of the world's children lived in polio-free countries at that time.
  • In 2001, only 600 cases of polio were reported worldwide in 10 countries
  • Since the Polio Plus program began, polio cases have been reduced 99.8% worldwide.

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