Poliomyelitis is a potentially paralysing, vaccine preventable, viral infection transmitted through food or water contaminated by infected human faeces or by direct contact with an infectious person
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a potentially paralysing, vaccine preventable, viral infection. The virus is transmitted through food or water contaminated by infected human faeces or by direct contact with an infectious person.
Polio is extremely rare in UK travellers with the last imported case occurring in 1993. Those at increased risk include travellers visiting friends and relatives, those in direct contact with an infected person, long-stay travellers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
In 1988 polio commonly occurred in more than 125 countries on five continents, with more than 1,000 children paralysed every day. Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, worldwide rates of polio have been reduced by more than 99 percent. The number of countries where polio commonly occurs has declined from 125 to two: Afghanistan and Pakistan. The rest of the world remains at risk of polio importation, with a number countries still reporting imported cases of polio.
Most individuals (about 95 percent) who acquire polio do not develop symptoms. When they do occur symptoms may range from a mild illness with fever, to symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) or paralysis. Although paralysis occurs in less than one percent of infections it is frequently long lasting.