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Polio Vaccine

The poliomyelitis (polio) vaccine protects against polio virus infections. The vaccine helps the body to produce antibodies that will prevent an individual from contracting polio. It is available in two forms:

1. Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is a live-attenuated vaccine given as drops to children. This is made with the weakened virus. OPV is no longer used in the United States; however it is given in other parts of the world where polio is common.

2. Injectable Polio Vaccine or Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) contains dead virus that eliminates the chances of any occurrence of poliomyelitis. It is available as an injection. Among the two doctors recommend the IPV as it contains the dead or inactivated virus and so is safe for administration.

Vaccine dosage

The vaccine is usually administered as four doses

1. At two months of age
2. At four months of age
3. Next dose is administered between six and 18 months of age
4. A final booster dose is administered at age four to six years.

This vaccination is very safe and is highly effective. Polio vaccine is highly effective if all the recommended doses have been administered. Those who are allergic to streptomycin, polymyxin B, or neomycin must refrain from taking the polio vaccine. Pregnant women are also recommended to wait till they deliver to take the polio vaccine.


Polio or Poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis is a viral disease caused by poliovirus that spread as a worldwide epidemic in the early twentieth century. But after the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955, the cases have drastically reduced. The polio virus spreads from contact and rapidly spreads within the blood and lymph system. The virus spreads through contaminated water, food and human waste. Polio tends to affect young children most often.

Polio can manifest as Paralytic, non-paralytic and subclinical polio, which is most common. Subclinical polio might result in symptoms such as headache, fever, vomiting and headache. With non-paralytic polio, the person would notice back pain, leg pain, muscle stiffness and tenderness, headache and pain in the legs, hands and abdomen. But with paralytic polio, the symptoms would also include muscle spasms, fever, difficulty in breathing and stiffness and sensitivity. Routine test of Cerebrospinal fluid or viral culture of CSF can help diagnose polio. Heat packs can reduce muscle cramps and pain. Physical therapy can help recover lost muscle strength. No treatment can reverse polio paralysis.


Encephalitis in an acute inflammation of the brain. Caused by herpes simplex virus, encephalitis causes cerebral edema thereby destroying nerve cells. This may lead to bleeding in the brain and brain damage. Encephalitis is often caused by the virus that causes mumps, measles, rabies, polio and rubella. Symptoms of encephalitis may begin with a stomach infection, headache and fever. It can also manifest in vomiting, drowsiness and clumsy gait. Severe headache and muscle or loss of consciousness are severe symptoms.

Brain MRI and CT scan of the head might be necessary to diagnose encephalitis. Serology tests and lumbar puncture and CSF examination might be done. Examination of the patient might show increased intracranial pressure, abnormal reflexes and mental confusion. The patient is given nutrition through fluids and anti-viral medicines such as acyclovir and foscarnet. Anti-seizures might be given. Antibiotics are prescribed in case the infection is caused by bacteria.

Tags: #Polio Vaccine #Polio #Encephalitis
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 12, 2024