Polio in Babies

Polio in Babies

Polio (likewise called poliomyelitis) is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was practically eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Although polio has been around given that ancient times, its most substantial break out happened in the first half of the 1900s up until the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955.

At the height of the polio epidemic in 1952, almost 60,000 cases with more than 3,000 deaths were reported in the United States alone. Nevertheless, with prevalent vaccination, wild-type polio, or polio taking place through natural infection, was eliminated from the United States by 1979 and the Western hemisphere by 1991.

Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that assaults the nervous system. Children below 5 years of ages are most likely to contract the virus than other group.

Symptoms of Polio in Babies

Polio is a viral illness that, in about 95% of cases, actually produces no symptoms at all (called asymptomatic polio). In the 4% to 8% of cases where there are symptoms (called symptomatic polio), the disease appears in three forms:

  1. a mild type called abortive polio (many people with this type might not even believe they have it due to the fact that their illness is limited to mild flu-like symptoms such as moderate upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and a basic feeling of being ill).
  2. a more severe kind related to aseptic meningitis called nonparalytic polio (1% -5% show neurological symptoms such as sensitivity to light and neck tightness).
  3. a severe, debilitating form called paralytic polio (this happens in 0.1% -2% of cases).

People who have abortive polio or nonparalytic polio typically make a complete recovery. However, paralytic polio, as its name suggests, causes muscle paralysis– and can even result in death.

In paralytic polio, the infection leaves the digestive tract and goes into the blood stream, attacking the nerves (in abortive or asymptomatic polio, the virus normally does not surpass the intestinal tract). The infection may affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs and the muscles essential for breathing, causing respiratory trouble and paralysis of the arms and legs.


Polio is transmitted primarily through the consumption of material polluted with the infection discovered in stool (poop). Not washing hands after utilizing the bathroom and drinking polluted water prevailed culprits in the transmission of the disease.

Polio in Babies


In the United States, it’s currently advised that children have 4 doses of suspended polio vaccination (IPV) in between the ages of 2 months and 6 years.

By 1964, the oral polio vaccine (OPV) had actually ended up being the suggested vaccine. OPV allowed big populations to be inoculated because it was simple to administer, and it supplied “contact” immunization, which indicates that an unimmunized person who can be found in contact with a just recently vaccinated child might end up being immune, too.

The problem with OPV was that, in really unusual cases, paralytic polio might establish either in immunized children or in those who came in contact with them. Because 1979 (when wild polio was removed in the United States), the around 10 cases each year of polio seen in this nation were traced to OPV.

IPV is a vaccine that stimulates the immune system of the body (through production of antibodies) to combat the infection if it comes in contact with it. IPV can not cause polio.

In an effort to eliminate all polio, including those cases associated with the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chose to make IPV the only vaccine given in the United States. Presently, the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advise 3 spaced doses of IPV provided prior to the age of 18 months, and an IPV booster offered in between the ages of 4 to 6, when children are going into school.

If you’re planning to take a trip outside the United States, especially to Africa and Asia (where polio still exists), make sure that you and your kids have gotten a total set of polio vaccinations.


Although the intense health problem normally lasts less than 2 weeks, damage to the nerves could last a life time. In the past, some patients with polio never regained complete use of their limbs, which would appear withered. Those who did completely recuperate might go on to establish post-polio syndrome (PPS) as lots of as 30 to 40 years after contracting polio. In PPS, the damage done to the nerves during the disease causes an acceleration of the normal, progressive weakness due to aging.

Treatment for Polio in Babies

During the height of the polio epidemic, the standard treatment involved placing a patient with paralysis of the breathing muscles in an “iron lung”– a large maker that really pushed and pulled the chest muscles to make them work. The damaged limbs were frequently kept debilitated since of the confinement of the iron lung. In nations where polio is still an issue, ventilators and some iron lungs are still used.

Historically, home treatment for paralytic polio and abortive polio with neurological symptoms wasn’t adequate. However, asymptomatic and moderate cases of abortive polio with no neurological symptoms were generally dealt with like the flu, with plenty of fluids and bed rest.

The Future of Polio

Health groups are pursuing eliminating polio throughout the world, and much development has actually been made. But a number of countries still have polio flowing, which suggests that the infection could occur in others. If the polio infection reaches a nation where inadequate people have actually been immunized, it might spread out from individual to person, as has actually happened in some nations in Africa and Asia. So up until it has been gotten rid of worldwide, it’s important to continue immunizing kids versus polio.


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