Why You Should Be Aware Of Polio Vaccine?

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis is an infectious disease that occurs when an individual comes in contact with the poliovirus that invades the nervous system in the humans. Polioviruses are human enteroviruses of the picornaviridae family and this virus can cause paralysis and irritation of the lining of the brain. It is a very contagious disease that can be spread easily from one person to another and is associated with various serious disorders. People who get polio vaccinations do not get this disease. Polio is still common in many countries and it could only take one infected person from poliovirus from another country to bring the disease to the country that is not polio vaccinated.  

 Why You Should Be Aware Of Polio Vaccine?

Usually, poliovirus affects children under five years of age, who are not fully vaccinated. Polioviruses are spread in two ways - fecal to oral and oral to oral transmission. Most often, a mixed pattern of transmission occurs, but when sanitation is poor fecal to oral transmission predominates. The poliovirus enters the body through the mouth when one eats food or drinks water that is contaminated by the fecal matters. The most common symptoms that occur in patients having polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, pain in the limbs, stiffness in the neck and weakness in the limbs. Poliovirus is of three types - type 1, type 2 and type 3.

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Children are more likely to develop this contagious disease and children get four doses of inactivated polio vaccine:

  • A dose at two months
  • A dose at four months
  • A dose at six to eighteen months
  • A booster dose at four to six years.

Usually, adults do not require polio vaccinations because they were vaccinated during childhood. But it is recommended that adults should get polio vaccinations in certain situations and some of the situations include:

  • While traveling to the areas of the world where polio is common
  • While in contact with the laboratory workers who handle poliovirus
  • While in contact with the healthcare people who treat patients who are infected with poliovirus.

Types Of Polio Vaccines

There are two types of polio vaccines that have been used throughout the world and those types are, oral polio vaccine and inactivated polio vaccine.  

1. Oral polio vaccine - It is the main preventive measure against polio and it can be taken orally as drops and can easily be administered. It is used in many countries, in immunization programs and primarily in immunization programs. Oral polio vaccine works by producing antibodies in the blood and gut. It stops the transmission by limiting the ability of the virus to replicate in the gut and spread to infect others. Oral polio vaccine is categorized into three -

  • Trivalent oral polio vaccine - It protects against all three types of polioviruses.
  • Bivalent oral polio vaccine - It protects against type 1 and type 3 polioviruses.
  • Monovalent oral polio vaccine -  It protects against anyone individual type of polioviruses.

2. Inactivated polio vaccine - It is a mixture of inactivated, killed strains of all the three types of polioviruses. This type of vaccine is given through injection and it requires trained healthcare individual. In response to this, the body produces antibodies in the blood that protects an individual. But sometimes, a virus can still replicate in the gut and can also spread to infect others. It is considered to be extremely effective in protecting children against poliovirus.

Multiple studies have reported that polio used to be very common in the United States and has killed and paralyzed thousands of people every year before the polio vaccine was introduced. Most people who have polio have no symptoms. But many people can experience complications. It can result in permanent disability and in some cases, it can result in permanent disability, primarily due to paralysis of muscles that are used for breathing.

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