Polio Basic Information

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system.
Up to 95% of persons infected with polio will have no symptoms. About four to eight percent of infected persons have minor symptoms such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, flu-like symptoms, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the limbs which often resolves completely. Fewer than one percent of polio cases result in permanent paralysis of the limbs (usually the legs). Of those paralyzed, 5-10% die when the paralysis strikes the respiratory muscles.
Complications include paralysis that can lead to permanent disability and death.
Polio is transmitted through contact with an infected person.

Side Effects

Some people who get Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) get a sore spot where the shot was given. The vaccine used today has never been known to cause any serious problems, and most people don’t have any problems at all with it.
However, a vaccine, like any medicine, could cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. The risk of a polio shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated

Some people should not get IPV or should wait.
These people should not get IPV:
• Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B should not get the polio shot.
• Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction to a polio shot should not get another one.
These people should wait:
• Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting polio vaccine. People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated.
Ask your health care provider for more information.

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