Fears rise after it was discovered in the London sewers... What are the symptoms of polio virus infection?

24 June, 2022
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Fears rise after it was discovered in the London sewers... What are the symptoms of polio virus infection?

"Sky News Arabia" indicated that with the high rate of fears, which was generated after Britain announced its discovery of the polio virus in the London sewers, it is necessary to return to the history of the virus, and methods of preventing it, to reduce as much as possible its joining the list of epidemics that threaten the world today. .

Polio is an infectious disease that affects both adults and children and is caused by one of the three types of polioviruses.

It does not necessarily cause paralysis

The disease does not necessarily cause actual paralysis, and its symptoms can be similar to influenza, and appear 3 to 21 days after infection. Symptoms can include a high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, in addition to a sore throat, headache, abdominal and muscle pain. These symptoms usually go away within about a week without any medical intervention.

In a small number of cases, the polio virus attacks the nerves in the spine and the base of the brain, which is known as paralytic polio.

This type can cause paralysis in the legs, and if paralysis affects the breathing muscles, it may be life-threatening.

As for the more serious symptoms, they are muscle weakness, severe constipation, wasting, weak breathing, difficulty swallowing, and muscle paralysis may be permanent. After polio, movement will often return slowly over the next few weeks and months, but many people have persistent problems. For the diagnosis, doctors will take samples from the throat, stool, and sometimes blood and cerebrospinal fluid to look for the virus.


The virus is often spread by contact with infected feces, and this often occurs due to poor hygiene, or eating contaminated food or water. It can also be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes through contaminated droplets into the air.


Prevention of polio is the only safe way to deal with this disease, with vaccines that are already available.

There is no specific treatment for affected people, and the focus is on relieving symptoms by prescribing pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Patients are often advised to eat a special diet and use hot compresses or heating pads for muscle pain.

Severe symptoms of paralysis may require movement aids, such as braces, canes and wheelchairs.

Disease history

We will return to carved paintings from ancient Egypt around 1500 BC, showing a withered leg priest using a walking stick, which indicates that polio was widespread thousands of years ago, but was first described in the medical literature by British physician Michael Underwood in 1789 The last case of polio was recorded in 1984 in Britain, and the virus was declared eradicated in 2003.

Since then, there have been occasional viral traces that were caught in sewage, but they were caused by people who recently received an oral vaccine that uses live viruses, which are shed in their stool. (Sky News Arabia)

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