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Your Ultimate Guide On Poliomyelitis

Apr 08, 2019 | 11 months ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

Know more about Poliomyelitis, its causes and the symptoms to watch out for. Information pertaining to its prevention and treatment is also mentioned herein.


Poliomyelitis is colloquially referred to simply as Polio, or Infantile Paralysis. It is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, which attacks the nervous system. The disease is highly contagious and spreads typically from person to person, primarily through faecal matter or less commonly, through human saliva. Primarily, children under the age of 5 are more likely to contract the disease than any other age group. Diagnosis of the disease is carried out by detecting the virus in the faeces of an infected person, or by analysing the antibodies against it in the blood.


Polio is not a ‘new’ disease; it has existed as a known condition as early as the 1700s. The poliovirus that causes the outbreak, however, was identified only much later. Over the centuries, polio continues to remain one of the most worrying childhood diseases globally, with an alarming number of children being affected annually.


Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Drive (GPED) in 1988 by the World Health Organisation, the number of polio cases has dropped by 99 percent. Owing to this, around 80 percent of the world’s population resides in polio-free regions, which include the Americas, Europe, Western Pacific and South-East Asia.


As per the WHO, 1 in 200 cases will result in permanent paralysis.  Unfortunately, polio is still prevalent in countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Closer home, India has also been working consistently towards eradicating this deadly disease on a continual basis and has been declared polio-free by the WHO in 2014.


Polio has damaging effects not just on the population’s health, but also on the global economy. It is estimated that the eradication of this dreaded disease can save over USD 40bn over the next two decades.


Let’s look at the symptoms of poliomyelitis. Should you notice any person around you displaying these symptoms, it would be prudent to raise a warning flag. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Meningitis


The signs and symptoms displayed by a person afflicted with non-paralytic polio can last from anywhere between 1 to 10 days. Statistics reveal that approximately 1 percent of polio cases can develop into paralytic polio, which can lead to further damage of the nervous system. This typically leads to paralysis of the spinal cord, brain stem, or in extreme cases, both.


Paralytic polio would lead to further symptoms and complications, which include:

  • Loss of reflexes
  • Muscle pain
  • Sudden onset of paralysis, whether temporary or permanent
  • Limb deformity

Further intensifying the damage, the virus may attack the muscles that help a person breathe, and result in death. What really makes this disease so dangerous is the fact that it can reoccur if you’ve had it earlier. This is known as post-polio syndrome (PPS).


While the damage caused by polio cannot be reversed and there is no known cure as on date, the endeavour is to manage the symptoms and provide relief to whatever extent possible. Doctors would normally prescribe a course of antibiotics, painkillers and bedrest followed by physiotherapy to treat the symptoms. To prevent the disease, as parents, you should diligently follow the polio vaccination schedule in your city of residence. The development of the polio vaccine in 1953 and subsequent administration since 1957 has seen the number of cases drop significantly.


Naturally, an illness of this nature requires immediate attention and care, beginning with what could be a long and protracted hospital stay. Aegon Life provides robust insight into the health insurance plans that you should opt for, to protect yourself and your loved ones from any medical emergency. Hospital costs are continually on the rise, and the right  life insurance cover that includes a critical illness policy can help you gain some peace of mind when you need it the most.


The iTerm Plus Insurance Plan comes with a host of benefits that provide you with the help you require if something was to happen to you. The policy terms provide a guaranteed amount in case of a terminal illness, as well as additional benefits in case of critical illness, accident and disability. This term insurance plan allows you as policyholder to increase coverage at any time during the life of the policy.


With this assurance, give your loved ones the protection they deserve, even in your absence.


II/Mar 2019/4887


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