The polio virus causes nerve injury that can lead to paralysis, difficulty breathing and death. It was one of the world’s most feared diseases until Dr. Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine and tested its safety in 1954.
A strain of enterovirus called the poliovirus causes polio. It can be picked up by travelers and carried worldwide, and also occur when not enough children are vaccinated in an area.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative said that weakened strains of poliovirus are shed by vaccinated children into the environment via their digestive systems and can pass from one unvaccinated individual to another. This may be a factor in the recent diagnosis of polio in a New York man.
In many countries, the polio vaccine is administered orally which is how a weakened strand could get passed into the digestive system of a child. The CDC said Salk’s original, inactivated polio vaccine has been the only version in use in the US since 2000. The Salk version is administered through a series of shots.
The polio virus lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines and can spread via feces. In rare cases, the virus can also spread via droplets from a sneeze or cough.
Many cases of polio are asymptomatic, and symptoms can take three forms: flu-like symptoms, neurological symptoms, and paralytic polio. The dangerous part of poliovirus is the ability of it to paralyze the victim in a matter of hours.
The disease can also affect the lungs, but most people who contract polio recover. The virus can even hide, lying dormant, and then appear years later in what is called post-polio syndrome.
The only treatment for polio is heat and physical therapy, and antispasmodic drugs are given to relax the muscles. There is no cure.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- First US case of polio in nearly a decade is an Orthodox Jewish man The Times of Israel
- New York county confirms case of polio Fox News
- Rockland County resident tests positive for polio CBS New York
- Virus Not Seen in US In Decade Paralyzes Hudson Valley, New York Man Hudson Valley Post
- America’s first case of polio in nearly a decade is an Orthodox Jewish man Jewish News
- View Full Coverage on Google News