Poliomyelitis

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Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease. It is caused by a virus transmitted from person to person through discharges from the nose and throat and from contamination with human waste.

Poliomyelitis (“polio”), or infantile paralysis, is a viral paralytic disease. The causative agent, a virus called poliovirus (PV), enters the body orally, infecting the intestinal wall. It may proceed to the blood stream and into the central nervous system causing muscle weakness and often paralysis.

Polio (infantile paralysis) is a communicable disease which is categorized as a disease of civilization. Polio spreads through human-to-human contact, usually entering the body through the mouth due to fecally contaminated water or food. The poliovirus is a small RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus that has three different strains and is extremely infectious. The virus invades the nervous system, and the onset of paralysis can occur in a matter of hours. While polio can strike a person at any age, over fifty percent of the cases occurred to children between the ages of three and five. The incubation period of polio, from the time of first exposure to first symptoms, ranges from three to thirty five days.

Polio can spread widely before physicians detect the first signs of a polio outbreak. Surprisingly, most people infected with the poliovirus have no symptoms or outward signs of the illness and are thus never aware they have been infected. After the person is exposed to the poliovirus, the virus is expelled through faeces for several weeks and it is during this time that a polio outbreak can occur in a community. The three strains of poliovirus result in non-paralytic polio, paralytic polio, and bulbar polio. In all forms of polio, the early symptoms of infection are fatigue, fever, vomiting, headache and pain in the neck and extremities.

SYMPTOMS
1. Fever
2. Headache
3. Stiffness of neck and back
4. Paralysis of voluntary muscles, usually of lower extremities.

TREATMENT
1. Isolate child in bed when fever develops and consult a doctor or health worker for treatment
2. Avoid traumas as infections, etc, if confirmed as poliomyelitis.
3. Reoprt eht suspected cases of poliomyelitis in the community to the health authority.

PREVENTION
1. The community should participate in information dissemination regarding poliomyelitis and get involved in local planning of its prevention and immunization activities.
2. Protect children against unnecessary close contact with persons outside the family
3. Avoid unnecessary travel and visiting
4. Report all suspected cases of poliomyelitis in the community to health authoriies.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Poliomyelitis”.

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