SICK S2 • E7

How Have We Almost Eradicated Polio?





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Published on Sep 3, 2019

We might be close to eliminating a second disease: polio.
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Only one human disease in history has been fully stamped out; smallpox, with the World Health Organization declaring it eradicated way back in 1980.

But polio could be next.

Yes, the disease that brings up imagery of wheelchairs and iron lungs might soon be on its way out, but we’re not there quite yet.

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by the aptly named poliovirus, which comes in three strains, and is spread mostly by consuming contaminated water.

Polio can be passed through the air with oral fluids, like from a cough or a sneeze, but the cycle today usually begins with fecal oral transmission, mostly in areas with poor sanitation.

Those infected with the poliovirus can experience no symptoms, but people can experience fatigue, fever, muscle weakness, loss of muscle, headaches, nausea, and more. Polio’s most severe form can lead to paralysis, weakened lungs, and, sometimes, death.

On this episode of SICK, we talk with Jay Wenger, Director of Polio at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about the infectious disease, how it spreads, its symptoms, and the ongoing eradication efforts.

#Polio #Disease #Health #SICK #Seeker #Science
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.

Read More:
One hundred years of poliovirus pathogenesis

So close: remaining challenges to eradicating polio

Polio vaccination: past, present and future
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