It is a very contagious viral infection, mainly affecting children. The virus is spread through contaminated food or water. After multiplying in the intestine, it invades the nervous system.
In many cases, the infection remains asymptomatic, but those affected still shed the virus in their faeces and can therefore spread polio to others.
The initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and pain in the limbs. In a small number of cases, polio causes paralysis, often permanent. Vaccination is the only means of prevention.
Polio mainly affects children under 5 years old. Since there is no cure, prevention is the only option. The polio vaccine, given several times, gives the child protection for life.