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Poliomyelitis (Polio) 

What is Poliomyelitis (Polio)?

  • Polio is a virus that often is mild but in some cases can be life altering and sometimes deadly. 

  • It is most often spread through the fecal-oral route by contact with stool from an infected individual but can also be spread through coughing and sneezing. 

What is at risk of  Polio?

  • Polio is extremely rare in Canada since the introduction of the polio vaccine, but cases may still be seen for those who have taken the oral polio virus (OPV)

  • ,People who have travelled to endemic polio countries.

What are symptoms of Polio?

  • Most often people who are infected show no symptoms, around 25% will have flu-like symptoms, and less than 4% of cases will be serious. 

  • Some of the minor symptoms include sore throat, fever, fatigue, nausea, and headache.

  • Serious symptoms include inflammation of the central nervous system, paralysis, brain or spinal issues, paresthesia, permanent disability and sometimes death.

What about the Polio vaccine?

  • The polio vaccine provides immunity in individuals close to 95% of time after the primary series, and close to 100% after the single booster dose.  

  • It is recommended that children receive the inactivated polio vaccine at 2, 4, 6-18 months and at 4-6 years old

  • Adults who handle polio or healthcare workers who may contact infected people should also be vaccinated. 

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