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Old Thursday, August 18, 2016
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Default Common Diseases and Epidemics

1. Polio

Facts about Polio
  • Polio or poliomyelitis also term as infantile paralysis.
  • Polio is caused by the poliovirus which is highly contagious virus.
  • The poliovirus consists of an RNA genome enclosed in a protein shell called a capsid.
  • Polio viruses only infects humans.
  • Polio causes spinal and respiratory paralysis.
  • Polio viruses survive only in humans, lives in the throat and in the intestines.
  • There are three types of polio viruses; types 1, types 2, and types 3.
  • Type I is responsible for about 85% of all paralytic infections.
  • Polio virus is spread through contact with the feces or by droplet spread in a sneeze or cough or by an infected person who has contaminated food or fluids by touching or tasting them.
  • There is no cure for polio once a person becomes infected.
  • Around 1 in 200 cases of polio lead to irreversible paralysis.
  • The vast majority of polio infections present no symptoms.
  • Around half of polio patients go on to have post-polio syndrome.
  • The history of polio dates back about 6,000 years.
  • Polio was given its first clinical description in 1789 by the British physician Michael Underwood, and recognized as a condition by Jakob Heine in 1840.
  • In 1928, Philip Drinker and Louie Shaw developed the "iron lung" to save the lives of those left paralysed by polio and unable to breathe.
  • The number of polio cases worldwide has fallen by 99% since 1988.
  • By 1988, polio had disappeared from the US, UK, Australia and much of Europe but remained prevalent in more than 125 countries.
  • In 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to eradicate the disease completely by the year 2000.
  • In 2002, WHO certified the European region polio-free.
  • In 2012, Polio remained officially endemic in four countries - Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.
  • Now Polio has been eradicated in every country of the world except for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • If polio is completely eradicated, it will be only the third disease to have been beaten, after smallpox and rinderpest.
Types of Polio
  1. Non-Paralytic Polio (minor)
  2. Paralytic Polio (major)
1.Non-Paralytic Polio (Minor):- It is also called abortive poliomyelitis, leads to flu-like symptoms that last for a few days or weeks. It accounts for 80-90% of apparent cases of polio infection, chiefly in young children.
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Back and neck pain
  • Arm and leg stiffness
  • Muscle tenderness and spasms
  • Meningitis - an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain
  • malaise
These symptoms last about 10-20 days and they completely resolve .

2.Paralytic Polio (Major):- Paralytic polio is severe form of polio in which the polio virus enters motor neurons where it replicates and destroys the cells and cause full or partial paralysis. These cells are normally in the spinal cord, brain stem, or motor cortex - an area of the brain important in controlling movements.
Paralytic Polio may also be classified as:
a).Spinal Polio - attacks motor neurons in the spinal cord and causes paralysis in the arms and legs and breathing problems
b).Bulbar Polio - affects the neurons responsible for sight, taste, swallowing, and breathing
c).Bulbospinal Polio - symptoms of both spinal and bulbar polio

Although paralytic polio symptoms often start in a similar way to non-paralytic polio, but later increasing to more severe such as:
  • A loss of muscle reflexes
  • Severe muscle pain and spasms
  • Flaccid paralysis - Loose or floppy limbs that are often worse on one side of the body
  • Breathing may become inhibited or nonfunctional

Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome occurs several years after polio has passed. It describes a cluster of symptoms that affect up to 50 percent of all polio patients. Generally, Post-polio syndrome occurs after 30 to 40 years after an acute polio infection. There is no cure of Post-polio syndrome, but it is not infectious or contagious.
  • Swallowing and breathing difficulties
  • Suffering in colder temperatures
  • Muscle and joint pain and weakness that slowly progresses
  • Muscle atrophy (shrinking)
  • Exhaustion for no reason
  • Sleep-related problems such as apnea (stopping breathing)
  • Concentration and memory difficulties
  • Mood swings and depression

Risk Factors of Polio

  • Paralysis - Many people with non-paralytic polio make a full recovery while those with paralytic polio generally end up with permanent paralysis.
  • Neck and back stiffness,
  • Abnormal reflexes,
  • Trouble with swallowing and breathing
  • Death

Causes and Transmission of Polio

Once the virus has entered an individual, it infects the cells of the throat and intestine. It takes over the host's cellular machinery and begins to replicate. The virus stays within the intestines, rapidly dividing for a week, before spreading to other areas of the body. Eventually, the virus moves into the bloodstream where it can spread to the entire body. Following are the causes of polio infection:-
  • Direct contact with a infected person infected
  • Contact with the feces of an infected individual
  • Through cough or sneeze droplets
  • Areas with poor sanitation, the virus easily spreads from feces into the water supply or into food.

Victims of Polio

  • Polio most commonly affects children under the age of 5 years.
  • Pregnant women are more susceptible to polio, but it does not appear to affect the unborn child.
  • Person having a weak immune system.
  • Anyone who has not been immunized against polio .
  • Person working in a laboratory where live poliovirus is kept.

Treatmentsof Polio

Once the virus that causes polio has infected a person, there is no treatment that will cure polio. Following early diagnosis and supportive treatment prevent deformities from occurring over time can help reduce the long-term symptoms due to muscle loss.
  • Physical therapy
  • Bed Rest,
  • Good nutrition
  • Breathing assistance
  • Splints and/or leg braces
  • Iron lung therapy

Prevention of Polio
  • Polio vaccinations ;Make sure children are vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Donít touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with uncleaned hands.
  • Eat safe foods and drink safe beverages. A avoid food and drinks that could be contaminated with the feces of a person infected with polio.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick.

Polio Vaccinations
There are two vaccines available to fight polio:-

1.Inactivated poliovirus (IPV):- IPV consists of a series of injections that start two months after birth and continue until the child is 4-6 years old. The vaccine is made from inactive poliovirus, but it is very safe and effective and cannot cause polio.

2). Oral polio vaccine (OPV):- OPV is created from attenuated form of poliovirus. It is low cost, easy to administer, and gives an excellent level of immunity. OPV, however, has been known to revert to a dangerous form of poliovirus that is able to paralyze the patient.
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