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Children’s health and parenting :
Poliomyelitis

Poliomyelytis, or polio, is a viral disease that sometimes affects the central nervous system and can lead to paralysis, usually of one leg but sometimes of the chest and abdomen and all the limbs. The polio virus spreads through water contaminated with feces containing the virus. The eradication of polio is one of the WHO’s top priorities.

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1. Who can get polio?

Any unimmunized person can get polio but young children are more at risk.

2. Can polio- affected children lead a normal life?

Children with paralytic polio will be disabled for life and may need aids for mobility e.g.crutches or wheelchairs. As the brain in not affected, the mental prowess is unimpaired. An example of a high achiever who was paralyzed by polio is the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3. Do children with polio need long term follow up?

Yes. It is important for polio-afflicted children to visit a doctor regularly. It will help them to cope better with post-polio syndrome, if they were to develop it.

4. What is post-polio syndrome?

Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a medical condition that affects people 15 to 30 years after their recovery from polio. It is characterized by fatigue, slow progressive muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain, and muscular atrophy.

5. How can children be prevented from getting polio?

Every child has to be vaccinated against polio. This is to make sure that the child is not infected with the virus and also to prevent spread of polio.

6. What is the advantage of using oral polio vaccine?

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is the safest and most effective way to prevent polio. It has the ability to induce intestinal and local immunity which is capable of interrupting wild poliovirus transmission.

7. Is polio completely eradicated?

No. Polio has not been completely eradicated. Although the number of cases has fallen over the years, some countries like India, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Nigeria still report incidences of polio.




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