Polio Essay

1005 words - 4 pages

Castro, Christina M & W 7:15 October 15, 2014 Castro, Christina M & W 7:15 October 15, 2014
Polio"Polio or poliomyelitis is a disease caused by poliovirus. It can cause lifelong paralysis and it can be deadly" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While a plague to the human race for centuries, polio was never the devastating curse that other diseases, such as bubonic plague and smallpox, were. Then, in the early 20th century, polio cases were on the rise, and the largest outbreak of the disease ever seen began. It is from this large outbreak that our dread of polio largely comes from. From this outbreak, we have gotten the devastating images of children in wheelchairs and iron lungs, paralyzed from the ravages of polio, some never to walk again. And it is this outbreak of polio that led to the tremendous push from Western medicine to eradicate it once and for all.According to the World Health Organization, Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (WHO). Data provided by the CDC proves that among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. "Cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 406 reported cases in 2013" (CDC). While polio normally produces no symptoms, in the small percentage of cases that do produce symptoms, the disease can take three different forms: abortive polio, nonparalytic polio and paralytic polio. Abortive polio produces mild flu-like symptoms such as diarrhea, sore throat, fever, upper respiratory symptoms, and a general feeling of malaise. Nonparalytic polio produces neurological symptoms such as neck stiffness and sensitivity to light. Paralytic polio, the most devastating form of the disease, and also the least common. Its name says it all. This form of polio causes muscle paralysis, weakening the limbs and even making breathing difficult. Paralytic polio can be deadly. While most people with abortive and nonparalytic polio make a full recovery (CDC). Even children who seem to fully recover can develop new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis as adults, 15 to 40 years later. This is called post-polio syndrome (CDC). Polio is very dangerous once contracted.Once people are informed as to what polio is the next question is how it is contracted. Poliovirus only infects humans. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is very contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact. The virus lives in an infected person's throat and intestines. It enters the body through the mouth and spreads through contact with the feces of an infected person and, though less common, through droplets from a sneeze or cough. You can get infected with polio if you have feces on your hands and you touch your mouth. Also, you can get infected if you put objects like toys that are contaminated with feces in your mouth. An infected person may spread the virus to others...

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