What to know about polio: Vaccine, symptoms and how it’s spread

Even after a person recovers from polio, they may experience muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis 15 to 40 years later. Children recovering from polio can experience post-polio syndrome as adults, with muscle weakness, fatigue, and joint pain for decades after the initial infection. Its not sure why Only some people develop post-polio syndrome, but people who have experienced severe cases of polio may be more susceptible.

Polio is very contagious. It spreads from person to person – typically when someone comes into contact with the stool of an infected person and then touches their mouth. This is particularly relevant for children under the age of 5, who, Dr. Esper said, may have difficulty with hand hygiene. “Every adult with kids knows that’s how germs are spread,” he said. Less commonly, polio can be spread when droplets from an infected person sneeze or cough into someone’s mouth.

And as with Covid-19, it is possible to spread the virus even if you have no symptoms.

The oral polio vaccine, which eliminated polio in the United States and is no longer used in the country, contains a live weakened polio virus. In rare cases, the virus can revert to what is known as “vaccine-derived polio” and can lead to illness, said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine specialist at the Hospital. Children of Philadelphia said. New York health officials confirmed that this person in Rockland County had come into contact with someone who received an oral polio vaccine that mutated into a form of the virus that causes the disease. The oral polio vaccine has not been used in the United States since 2000. Today, the polio vaccine in the United States is a highly effective shot that does not contain a live virus, unlike the vaccine. drink.

Many countries still use oral vaccines. “We have always had the risk of a vaccine-derived strain entering this country,” said Dr. Offit.

Vaccination is the best way to protect against polio, and highly effective vaccines are part of the routine immunization schedule for children in the United States.

“This is good news to live in the era of vaccines,” said Dr. Offit, who grew up in the 1950s. “You just need to get vaccinated.”

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