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Polio – what you need to know:
Poliomyelitis is a potentially life-threatening acute viral infection. It is a highly contagious disease which is caused by an Enterovirus (Polio virus types 1, 2 and 3). It may cause serious illness including permanent nerve damage, leading to paralysis of limbs and respiratory muscles. Polio has been largely wiped out around most of the planet but it still poses a threat in certain areas of the world. Polio is particularly dangerous to children.
It is spread by the faecal-oral route. Outbreaks tend to occur with exposure to contaminated food and water.
There are two types of polio vaccines available: an inactivated injection or a live attenuated oral vaccine. Polio is usually given as a triple vaccine (DTP) which also vaccinates against Diphtheria and Tetanus. A booster dose is recommended after 10 years have lapsed since your last vaccination.
There is no cure however, fortunately there is a vaccine which can be used to prevent you from contracting the virus. Travellers to areas at risk may be recommended a single course injection. In the UK, DTP is part of the routine childhood immunization programme.
Where are the risk areas?
Areas of risk include:
- and the Indian sub-continent
How old to you have to be to have the vaccine?
The DTP vaccine can be given to those aged 6 years and over.
How long does immunity last for?
Immunity is thought to last for up to 10 years. After ten years a booster dose is usually recommended.
Are there any side effects to the vaccine?
Following administration of the vaccine flu-like symptoms can occur which should subside within 1-2 weeks.
Click here for our vaccination price list
Patient information leaflet: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/PIL.17378.latest.pdf