Most Shocking Facts About Polio

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  • There are three confirmed types of polio,
  • Polio is a highly virulent infection caused by a virus which invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in hours.
  • Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age and is transmitted through the ingesting of food or water that is contaminated with faecal material from an infected person.
    • Sub-clinical (type 1): Approximately 95 percent of polio cases are sub-clinical, and patients may not experience any symptoms. This form of polio does not affect the brain and spinal cord.
    • Non-paralytic (type 2): This form affects the brain and spinal cord, producing only mild symptoms and does not result in paralysis.
    • Paralytic (type 3): This is the rarest and most serious form of polio, which produces full or partial paralysis in the patient. There are three types of paralytic polio: spinal polio (affects the spine), bulbar polio (affects the brainstem), and bulbospinal polio (affects the spine and brainstem).
  • Symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness and limb pain.
  • Uganda was declared polio free in 2006 by the World Health Organisation, however, in 2009 and 2010, there were two confirmed cases in the country, from immigrants into the northern part of the country
  • “75 per cent of polio carriers do not show any symptoms but they can still spread the disease.
  • There is no cure for polio however; it can be prevented through a series of vaccinations in childhood, one vaccination alone is not enough to prevent it.
  • The vaccine is a weakened form of the virus, which once inside one’s body triggers a defence mechanism that protects one from future attacks
  •  In 2002 scientists had synthesised a chemical called poliovirus in a test-tube with the empirical formula C332,652H492,388N98,245O131,196P7, 501S2,340. It is therefore not easy to be totally free of polio since it can be reproduced invitro
  • While the cases of polio worldwide have declined, it is reported that in 2011 alone, the Bill and Melinda Gates’ polio vaccine campaign in India caused 47,500 cases of paralysis and death.

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