Common questions about polio

What is polio?

Polio is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and can paralyze muscles or even cause death.

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What causes polio?

Polio is caused by a virus that can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also be spread through the stool (feces) of an infected person, or through direct contact with an infected person.

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What are the symptoms of polio?

Polio symptoms include fever, nausea and flu-like symptoms such as aching muscles. A child with polio may also be unusually tired, have a loss of appetite, or have a stiff neck or back. Polio symptoms can progress to paralysis.

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What can happen to my child if he or she gets polio?

Polio can cause very serious illness, including paralysis. Sadly, one out of every 100 people infected with the polio virus will be paralyzed.

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Is there a treatment or cure for polio?

There is no cure for polio.

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What is the name of the immunization that includes protection against polio?

The DTaP-IPV-Hib and DTaP-IPV vaccines will prompt your child’s immune system to build antibodies that protect – or arm – your child against polio.

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At what age should my child be immunized against polio?

To be protected against polio, your child needs multiple doses of the DTaP-IPV-Hib and DTaP-IPV vaccines, at the ages and stages recommended in the routine schedule. Your child is recommended to receive the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine at two months of age, followed by a dose at four months of age, at six months of age, and at 18 months of age. Your child will then also need a dose of the DTaP-IPV vaccine between four and six years of age.

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Are there side effects to the polio vaccine?

The side effects your child may have after immunization depend on which vaccine they received. To find this information, click on the vaccine name in the Routine Immunization Schedule or from the list of Vaccine Information Sheets.

For tips on managing symptoms following immunization, click here.

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Is this disease called any other names?