Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-to-person contact with the stool of an infected person and may also be spread through oral/nasal secretions. Polio used to be very common in the U.S. and caused severe illness in thousands of people each year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. Most people infected with the polio virus have no symptoms, however for the less than 1% who develop paralysis it may result in permanent disability and even death.
There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). IPV, used in the U.S. since 2000, is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and booster dose at 4-6 years. OPV has not been used in the United States since 2000 but is still used in many parts of the world.
View personal stories of someone affected by Polio at ShotbyShot.org.