Poliomyelitis is caused by infection with a member of the genus Enterovirus known as poliovirus (PV). This group of RNA viruses colonize the gastrointestinal tract – specifically the oropharynx and the intestine. The incubation time (to the first signs and symptoms) ranges from three to 35 days, with a more common span of six to 20 days. PV infects and causes disease in humans alone.
Poliomyelitis is highly contagious via the fecal-oral (intestinal source) and the oral-oral (oropharyngeal source) routes. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, infecting the first cells with which it comes in contact, the pharynx and intestinal mucosa.
In around 1 percent of infections, poliovirus spreads along certain nerve fiber pathways, preferentially replicating in and destroying motor neurons within the spinal cord, brain stem, or motor cortex. This leads to the development of paralytic poliomyelitis, polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.
In about 0.5 percent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck.
Poliovirus is usually spread from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. It may also be spread by food or water containing human feces and less commonly from infected saliva. Those who are infected may spread the disease for up to six weeks even if no symptoms are present.
The disease is preventable with the polio vaccine.
However, a number of doses are required for it to be effective.
1 Jonas Salk
Head of the Virus research lab, University of Pittsburgh.
Invented injecteble Polo vaccine in 1954.
He was awarded with ‘Nobel Award’ for his invention to save millions of children from this disease.
[28 October 1914 – 23 June 1995]
2 Albert Sabin
Inventor of Oral Polio vaccine, world wide used and helped in prevention and eradication of the disease.
[26 August 1906 – 3 March 1993]
In around 1 percent of infections, poliovirus spreads along certain nerve fiber pathways.
Preferentially replicating in and destroying motor neurons within the spinal cord, brain stem, or motor cortex. This leads to the development of paralytic poliomyelitis.
We all are responsible for creating a poliofree world while we still can