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Polio, or Heine-Medin disease, or acute widespread childhood paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease. It can be asymptomatic or show up in the form of paralysis leading to paralysis of the body and, consequently, disability, or even death. What are the causes and symptoms of polio disease? What is polio treatment and when is the polio vaccine given?

Polio - what is it?

Polio - or Heine-Medin disease( poliomyelitis anterior acuta ), is a disease caused by three types of viruspoliothat is transmitted by ingestion or inhalation.

In 2001, the WHO (World He alth Organization) recognized that the people of Europe were not threatened by thepoliovirus - all thanks to universal, compulsory vaccinations against the disease. However, thepoliovirus is still present in poor countries in Africa and Asia (mainly India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria), and worse - it mutates.

Polio - causes

Causepolio(Heine-Medina's disease) an RNA virus from thePicornaviridaefamily.Polio virusoccurs in three forms, of which type 1 is the most dangerous because it leads to the appearance of severe paralytic forms.

The period from virus infection to the onset of disease symptoms is usually 7-14 days (in some cases even 21 days or longer).

Polio: symptoms

The symptoms of polio (Heine-Medin disease)depend on the form of the disease.

W 90-95%poliois asymptomatic. In turn, abortion infections account for 4-8%. In the case of abortion paralysis, i.e. the one that the patient's body can fight on its own, fever, diarrhea, sore throat and flu-like ailments may appear a few hours or days after infection.

The most severe stage of the disease, i.e. the paralytic form, accounts for only 0.5% of cases. Then the virus, after getting into the digestive tract, passes through the bloodstream to the front horns of the spinal cord, where it destroys motor neurons, thus causing permanent paralysis of the body. The entire process takes less than 48 hours.

Symptoms of paralytic form include, first of all, irreversible, asymmetrical paralysis of flaccid muscles. The lower limbs are most often paralyzed, and less often the upper limbs, which over timeleads to their disappearance and deformation of a given area of ​​the body.

Accompanying symptomspolioto:

  • fever
  • respiratory failure
  • headaches
  • meningeal irritation symptoms that appear after 7-14 days

In extreme cases, the respiratory muscles may be paralyzed, which is life threatening. It is extremely rare for an infection to spread to the brain, resulting in death.

Some infected may develop post-polio syndrome, which manifests itself as muscle paralysis that occurs many years (even 20-30) after infection.

Polio: disease form

Due to the location of the lesions, three most common forms of paralysis are distinguished: spinal, cerebral and bulbar palsy.

  • core character

Asymmetrical paralysis most often affects the muscles of the lower limbs, less often the upper limbs, the trunk muscles and the respiratory muscles. These palsies are flaccid, which is associated with the weakening of muscle strength (they can be both mild paresis and complete paralysis).

  • brain character

The cerebral form is manifested by fever, increased excitability or drowsiness, impaired consciousness, muscle stiffness, muscle tremors, convulsions, sometimes aphasia and ataxia.

  • bulb character

The centers of the medulla (the pads in which the nerve centers responsible for reflex functions are concentrated), the respiratory system, the circulatory system and the cranial nerves are affected. In addition, there are numerous complications such as myocarditis, pulmonary edema, and mental disorders. The treatment period lasts approximately 2 years on average. In this case, the mortality rate is 30%.

Polio treatment

No causal treatment is possible. The goal ofpoliotreatment is only to alleviate any troublesome symptoms. Therefore, one of the main elements of treatmentHeine-Medina diseaseis rehabilitation, which aims to prevent stiffening of the affected muscles.

Special orthopedic appliances can be used to support joints where the muscles are very weak. When it is necessary (e.g. in the case of collapse of the spine), surgical procedures are applied. A respirator may be required if the breathing muscles are affected.

Read also:

  • Polio vaccination
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Acute Relaxing Myelitis (AFM)

Polio vaccination

In Poland, vaccination against the viruspoliobelongs to the groupcompulsory vaccinations (reimbursement under the National He alth Fund). The vaccine is given in several doses. The first - inactivated vaccine (IPV) - consists of killed virus cells that should be injected intramuscularly at the turn of the third and fourth months of the child's life.

The second and third doses, on the other hand, are given orally and consist of live, attenuated (devoid of virulence) virus cells. Live vaccines (OPV) are administered from 16 to 18 months of age. One dose of the vaccine protects against disease for only 10 years. Thepoliovirus vaccine is the most effective method of preventingHeine-Medina disease .

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