POLIOVIRUS is an infectious disease that has the ability to leave patients paralysed and crippled.
Find out here if the virus is contagious.
Is poliovirus contagious?
Poliovirus is very contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact.
It lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines.
A person can transmit (spread) it even if they aren’t sick.
Symptoms usually occur six to 20 days with a range of three to 35 days.
How is polio transmitted?
The virus goes from person to person in two ways.
People are infected with the disease in their bodies spread the virus through their feces.
The virus can then spread to other people when they swallow contaminated water or food.
This exposure is more likely in areas that have poor hygiene or weak systems to clean water.
You can also can pick up the virus after someone sneezes or coughs.
If you get droplets of an infected person’s phlegm or mucus in your mouth or nose, you can become infected.
How does polio affect you?
Most people infected with poliovirus will have no signs of the disease or just mild symptoms.
If symptoms do occur, they usually appear about seven to 10 days after exposure to the virus.
However, symptoms can take as long as 35 days to show up.
The early symptoms of polio last about two to 10 days include:
- Neck stiffness
- Pain in the arms and legs
While most people recover well from polio, the disease can cause serious problems.
The problems can develop quickly and include:
- Numbness, feeling of pins and needles or tingling in the legs or arms.
- Paralysis in the legs, arms or torso.
- Trouble breathing because of muscle paralysis in the lungs.
- Death when the muscles you use to breathe become paralyzed.
If you experience any of the symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
And while there’s no cure for polio, it a good idea to make sure you and those around you are fully vaccinated.
The vaccine protects you for 10 years, and after that, you will need a booster.
You should also make sure you have a polio booster two weeks before travel, especially to parts of Asia or Africa.