Diseases

Poliomyelitis: the causes

The cause of poliomyelitis is polio virus contamination.

As the reservoir of the virus is human, transmission is from one infected individual to another, during skin contact. A simple handshake can, for example, be blamed. Less frequently the contamination occurs indirectly by ingesting water or food contaminated with the virus.

Some people contract the virus, but do not get sick. In this case, we speak of healthy carriers. Since they carry the virus, they are just as likely to infect another individual.

Children aged 3 months to 5 years are the most affected by polio.

Globally, the number of polio cases has declined by more than 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350, 000 in more than 125 endemic countries to 37 reported cases in 2016, according to WHO.

In 2014, the disease is no longer endemic only in parts of 3 countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan). This decline is explained by the policy of global eradication of this disease, largely thanks to the polio vaccine, whose effectiveness is well proven.

Nowadays, people who may become infected and get sick are sick because of incomplete vaccination or lack of vaccination.

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