Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system and can cause severe paralysis. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralyzed, 5-10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. Polio mainly affects children under five years of age. Naturally occurring polio was eliminated in the U.S. in 1979 and in the Western Hemisphere by 1991; however, worldwide efforts are continuing towards eradication of this contagious and devastating disease.
In the future, vaccines may be delivered with a puff of air rather than a needle, according to the promising results of new research presented at a meeting of the American Chemistry Society this March.
Researchers have for the first time identified the way viruses like the poliovirus and the common cold virus 'package up' their genetic code, allowing them to infect cells.
Enteroviruses and other pathogenic viruses that make their way into surface waters can be inactivated by heat, sunshine and other microbes, thereby reducing their ability to spread disease.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have isolated human monoclonal antibodies that potentially can prevent a rare but devastating polio-like illness in children linked to a respiratory viral infection.
Created from 13,000 separate images taken by an electron microscope, it reveals in rich detail the structure of the virus.