Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus which invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis over a few hours. It enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestines. The initial symptoms include fever, tiredness, headaches, vomiting, neck stiffness and limb pain. Irreversible paralysis (usually of the legs) occurs in one case in 200. 5 to 10% of paralysed patients die because their respiratory muscles cease to function.
People at risk of poliomyelitis : Polio mostly affects children under the age of five
Prevention of poliomyelitis: As it has no treatment, the only option is prevention. Administration of a vaccine on several occasions gives the child lifelong protection.
Number of cases Polio has reduced by more than 99% since 1988, from more than 350,000 to 1919 cases declared in 2002 (on 16 April 2003). This is due to worldwide efforts made to irradiate the disease.