In the Know: Polio
Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio, is a crippling and on rare instances fatal disease caused by poliovirus.
It can strike at any age and invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.
The virus enters through the mouth and spreads through contact with the feces of an infected person, or if a person has feces on their hands and touch their mouth.
The virus then lives in the infected person’s throat and intestines.
It contaminates food and water in communities with poor environmental sanitation and hygiene.
About seven out of every 10 infected people will not have any visible symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But symptoms for some may last up to five days. These include sore throat, fever, fatigue, nausea, headache and stomach pain.
The disease can result in irreversible paralysis affecting most commonly the leg muscles, but for 5 to 10 percent of acute flaccid paralysis cases, the breathing muscles are also affected, which can cause death.
Complete vaccination is the best preventive measure against polio, according to the Department of Health.
The two types of vaccines against the poliovirus are the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV).
The health department said all children under 1 year old should complete their three doses of OPV and one dose of IPV.
The Philippines was declared polio-free in October 2000. It is, however, at high risk for poliovirus transmission, the DOH said in August. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
SOURCES: INQUIRER ARCHIVES, CDC.GOV, DOH.GOV
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