Short essay on Poliomyelitis: What are its causes, symptoms and prevention?


It is also known as the crippling diseases of the childhood. It is an acute infectious and communicable disease affecting the central nervous system resulting in the paralysis of voluntary muscles most commonly of lower extremities.

The legs are more affected then the arms. Poliomyelitis spreads all over the world and had developed into and epidemic in the past.

Polio disease mostly occurs at the age of six months to three years affecting boys often.


Pathogenic organism:

Poliovirus is of three types:

I, II and III. I type of virus is more dangerous and paralyses the body.

Spread of diseases:


The carriers play an important role in the spread of disease. The virus is present in nasal secretion, food con­taminated water and house flies.

Incubation period:

The duration before any symptoms of the disease are seen, is of seven to fourteen days.

Period of communicability:


One week after the patient is cured of the disease.


The patient suffers from cold, headache, backache, and fever. The joints of the body get painful and the neck suffers from fluidity. The children are drowsy and suffer from fever and severe weakness. In the advanced stage the central nervous system is affected and the spine bends forward. The limbs seem to be loose, irritation in the muscles of arms and legs. Mortality rate is 2-10% but paralysis rate is 50-60%.



The Polio myelitis vaccine is given orally between the age of six months to nine months. The vaccine is given in three doses at the interval of one month. One booster dose is introduced when the child is one year to two years of age.

Prevention and control:

The following measures should be adopted:

1. Notification should be given promptly to the authorities.


2. The patient should be segregated under medical supervision.

3. Polio virus is present in the excreta and sewage; therefore, proper arrangements should be made for the disposal of fasces/urine of the patient.

4. Adopt anti-fly measures.

5. Disinfections of room, bedding, clothes, utensils and other articles used by the patient.

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