Polio or poliomyelitis is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. Paralysis caused by poliovirus occurs when the virus replicates in and attacks the nervous system. The paralysis can be lifelong, and it can be deadly. It most often infects children younger than 5 years old.
Most people who get infected with poliovirus do not have any symptoms. Some people (25 people out of 100) will have flu-like symptoms. These symptoms usually last 2 to 5 days. In rare cases, poliovirus infection can be very serious. About 1 out of 200 people will have weakness or paralysis in their arms, legs, or both. This paralysis or weakness can last a lifetime.
The risk of lifelong paralysis is very serious. Even children who seem to fully recover can develop new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis as adults, 15 to 40 years later. About 2 to 10 children out of 100 who have paralysis from polio die because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe.
Polio vaccine protects your child from polio, a potentially serious disease which may develop into lifelong paralysis. Along with oral polio vaccine (OPV- polio drops given orally), Injectable polio vaccine (IPV- given intramuscularly via an injection) is important and recommended to provide complete protection against polio disease.
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend children receive all vaccines according to the recommended Vaccination schedule.