Doctors-4u – Polio or poliomyelitis is a very contagious infectious disease caused by the polio virus that attacks the nervous system. Nowadays polio is rare because many people have realized the importance of the polio vaccine, but do you know what the symptoms of polio look like?
Children aged less than 5 years are most vulnerable to be infected with the polio virus compared to other age groups. But all those who have not received the polio vaccine remain at high risk of suffering from polio.
According to WHO, 1 in 200 people infected with the Polio virus experience total paralysis. Besides polio can also cause breathing difficulties and even death.
Thanks to the global polio eradication movement that began in 1988, Southeast Asian countries have been declared polio free. But until now polio is still often found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
The polio virus lives in the throat and intestines of an infected person. Transmission occurs mainly through contact with patient feces and patient fluids when coughing or sneezing. Fecal transmission is common in poor sanitary environments.
The risk of transmission of polio is highest in 7-10 days before the onset of polio symptoms. The virus can live in the throat for 1 week and stool for up to 6 weeks or longer in patients with a low immune system.
There are 3 types of diseases caused by poliovirus infection including non-paralytic polio, paralytic polio, and postpolio syndrome.
This is a type of polio that is mild and does not cause paralysis. Symptoms of non-paralytic polio disappear within 24-72 hours, and sometimes last up to ten days.
In this type of polio there is complete recovery and does not cause sequelae in the future.
Polio virus in this type does not enter the nervous system so it does not damage the nerves. Symptoms such as flu symptoms, including fever, sore throat, headache, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, pain or stiffness in the back, neck and hands, muscle weakness.
This type of polio is rare but serious. Initial symptoms such as non-paralytic polio symptoms, but within a few days or a week after that other serious symptoms appear such as:
- Loss of body reflexes
- Severe muscle pain and muscle weakness
- Limbs that feel weak usually on one side of the body
- Sudden paralysis is temporary or permanent
About 2-5% of paralytic polio sufferers can die. Among those who have survived since experiencing paralytic polio, 50% of paralytic polio sufferers can experience permanent paralysis.
Post-polio syndrome (PPS) often occurs in people with prior paralytic polio. The main symptom of PPS is muscle weakness that recurs and gradually worsens. The average PPS occurs 35 years since the initial polio infection.
Besides the muscle weakness that arises again, other symptoms of PPS include:
- Shrinking muscles
- easily tired
- difficulty swallowing and breathing
- sleep disturbance due to tightness
- impaired concentration and memory
- frequent mood changes and depression.
Although polio cases are now rarely found, the complications are serious. Therefore it is important to do early prevention with polio immunization. Hopefully this article helps you recognize the symptoms of polio and its complications.