Poliomyelitis (polio) is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The severity of the disease ranges from inapparent infection to paralytic disease and possibly death when paralysis affects vital muscles such as those responsible for respiration. Inapparent infection far exceeds paralytic illness by more than 100:1.
Infection is spread by direct contact or through food or drink contaminated by faeces of infected persons.
There is no cure or treatment for polio but there are very effective vaccines for prevention. Polio vaccines need to be given several times to ensure immunity, which is always for life.
Permanent paralysis in the limbs can be alleviated by physiotherapy, rehabilitation and use of orthotic devices.