Polio is a serious illness caused by a virus. It still affects many parts of the world. It is nearly eliminated in the United States. It can cause:

The polio virus can be spread by person to person contact. Anyone can develop this infection.

This disease affected thousands of children each year prior to 1950 when the polio vaccine was developed. The use of the vaccine has made polio rare in developed nations.

Most people who get the infection have no symptoms at all. But some people can develop the following:

  • Mild fever
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Meningitis
  • Paralysis

Treatment aims to manage the symptoms of the disease.

The polio vaccine is made of inactivated polio virus. An oral vaccine containing live polio vaccine was used in the past. There was a small risk of getting polio from the oral vaccine. It is no longer recommended. Today's polio vaccine is given by injection into the arm or leg.