Polio: history, signs symptoms


Polio is caused by a virus that attacks the human gastrointestinal tract. It mainly affects children and young adults.

Victims of the virus can become partially paralysed but then make a recovery, while others remain partially paralysed for life.

The last great polio epidemic in Ireland was in the mid-1950s. Polio is now virtually unheard of in the developed world since the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1960s.

There are approximately 7,500 survivors of polio in Ireland at present.

Most of these people are middle aged or becoming elderly.

About 20-40 years after their original infection by polio, between 60 to 80 per cent have developed post-polio syndrome.

Symptoms include muscle and joint pain, difficulty walking, constant fatigue, respiratory and swallowing difficulties and severe intolerance to the cold. There is no known cure.

For further information contact the Post-Polio Support Group on 01-889 8920