POLIOMYELITIS


Tables and Charts:
AGENT
Poliovirus type I, II, and III. Type I is usually responsible for epidemics.

DESCRIPTION
Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease that attacks the central nervous system, causing permanent paralysis of the muscles and frequently death. The incidence of the disease has been on the decline and it is targeted for eradication by the year 2000.

TRANSMISSION
Man is the only host of the virus and transmission takes place from person to person.

SYMPTOMS
A wide range of manifestations, including nonspecific minor illness, aseptic meningitis (nonparalytic poliomyelitis), and flaccid weakness of various muscle groups (paralytic poliomyelitis).

INCIDENCE AND DISTRIBUTION
Polio is rapidly disappearing from significant areas of the world. When the global polio eradication goal was set in 1988, approximately 35 000 cases of polio were reported world-wide. In 1995, that number had fallen to 7000, an 80% decline. Although reporting for 1996 is incomplete, significant declines are anticipated. It should be noted, though, that many cases of polio are not reported. It is estimated that the reported total represents only 10% of the cases that actually occur.

India has reported more than half the world's polio cases every year. As a result of its first NID - 93 million children were immunized in a single day in January 1996 - it appears that there will be a 70% decline in reported polio cases in India. Polio was eradicated from the Western Hemisphere in 1991; the last case was a 3-year-old boy from Peru. Polio is disappearing from Western and Central Europe, North Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Pacific Rim of Asia, including Australia. Polio in China has gone from 5,000 cases in 1990 to 3 imported cases in 1996. Eradication is close in the remainder of WHO's Western Pacific Region.

Return to Disease List
[Printing Hints]

Copyright © 2000 United Nations Publications
You can e-mail us at cyberschoolbus@un.org