Polio is found in the stool and saliva of infected persons. It is easily spread when a person puts something (food, water, or an object) into his or her mouth that has infected feces or saliva on or in it. It can cause permanent paralysis and even death. There is no treatment for polio. Before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955, it was very common in the U.S. and caused severe illness in thousands of people each year. Most people infected with the polio virus have no symptoms; however, for the less than one percent who develop paralysis, it may result in permanent disability and even death.
The wild polio virus has been eliminated in North and South America, but it still exists in other countries. With frequent international travel, polio is literally only a plane ride away. All children should continue to be immunized against polio.
Age groups at risk
- Polio Vaccination (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Polio Vaccine (Department of Health)
Vaccine information statements
- Polio (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)