Polio was one of the most feared diseases in the US between 1940s to 1950s before vaccines were developed against it. According to the CDC, between those times it is estimated that 15,000 to 35,000 people each year were being paralyzed by the poliovirus (the virus that causes polio). When the first polio vaccine was developed in 1955 these numbers tremendously dropped to 100 and eventually to only 10 people being paralyzed in the 1970s. The efforts of the scientists and government to prevent the poliovirus has finally yielded a long-term benefit to the people all over the world through Polio Vaccines.
The poliovirus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis.
In addition to administering Polio Vaccines, we aim to educate our patients and community at large. We see our role, especially in this day and age, as one that provides education to our community. That’s what matters most to us.
As a condition of employment, Voyage Medical requires all new hires to be fully educated on Polio and the Vaccines for it.
Symptoms of Polio
-About 72 out of 100 people who get infected with poliovirus are asymptomatic.
-About 25 out of 100 with poliovirus infection will have the following flu-like symptoms that usually last 2 to 5 days, then go away on their own.
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
-A smaller proportion of people (much less than one out of 100, or 1-5 out of 1000) with poliovirus infection will develop other, more serious symptoms that affect the brain and spinal cord:
- Paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in the legs)
- Meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain) occurs in about 1 out of 25 people with poliovirus infection
- Paralysis (can’t move parts of the body) or weakness in the arms, legs, or both, occurs in about 1 out of 200 people with poliovirus infection
It is also important to note that there is so-called post-polio syndrome (PPS), a condition that can affect polio survivors decades after they recover from their initial poliovirus infection. Some PPS patients after reaching adulthood become wheelchair-bound even when they have not been when they initially had the disease as a child and recovered.
Though polio, or poliomyelitis, has been eliminated from most of the world, it is still a threat in some countries so travelers must keep in mind the polio vaccination guidelines about this disease before traveling:
- Even if you were previously vaccinated, you may need a one-time booster shot before traveling to a country where the risk of getting polio is greater.
- Make sure you are fully vaccinated against polio before departure.
- You may be required by the government of the country to show proof of polio vaccination on your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (IVCP) when departing that country.
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