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Polio runs rampant in countries with very unhealthy sewage practices. Luckily, polio can be isolated from sewage, but anytime unclean water is let into a river, stream, lake, or other water body, it can spread into any unknowing person who uses that water to drink. People in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s were afraid to swim because of that. Polio after being digested, heads for the cells covering the intestines.

There are three main strains of Polio. Two of them only produce a low-grade fever, headache, sore and inflamed throat, nausea, and vomiting. Usually these go unnoticed and have healed in about 72 hours. The third Polio strand is major poliomyelitis. This has two main forms: paralytic and non-paralytic, both of which attack the nervouse system. Non-paralytic causes a moderate fever, headache, vomiting, fatigue, and pain in the neck, back, arms, legs, and stomach. Back, neck, and muscle spasm may also occur. This all will last about one week, while the back pain will be about two weeks. Paralytic polio is a serious threat. After about 5-7 days after a fever, symptoms similar to non-paralytic appear, along with loss of reflexes, urine retention, constipation, and bloating. The extent of paralysis all depends where on the spinal cord the virus is. Medical testing is needed to determine this.

Polio is a RNA virus that belongs to the icornavirus family. It is made up of a capsid and is round in shape.

Polio control was made possible when, in 1949, John Franklin Enders, an American bacteriologist, and his coworkers discovered a method of growing the three virus strains on tissue in the lab. Using this method, American physician and apidemiologist Jonas Salk developed a vaccine by using inactive, or dead, polio viruses of all three strands. The Vaccine is given through injection. After testing in 1954, the vaccine was pronounced safe and effective, and mass inoculation began. American virologist Albert Sabin later developed another vacine that contained live, but inafective polio strands. The vaccine is given orally. This vaccine was called trivalent oral polio vaccine, or TOPV, and was licensed in 1963 and since then has replaced the Salk injectible vaccine as the standard vaccine for polio. This reduced the number of reported cases from 57,879 in 1952 to now only a few a year.


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