Polio is a disease that has been eradicated in Belgium, yet it is still rife in other parts of the world. For as long as the polio virus is in circulation, unvaccinated children, from any country of origin, will run a risk of contracting polio. There is no treatment against polio, vaccination is the only means of prevention.

What are the symptoms of polio?

Polio, is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by polioviruses. In most cases (90 to 95%), the infection is asymptomatic, that is to say it does not cause any symptoms.

In the rarest cases, the symptoms, which can be very severe, appear between 7 and 14 days after becoming infected.

  • Non-paralytic polio, with flu-like symptoms (4 to 8% of cases): fever, headaches, vomiting, painful limbs 
  • Aseptic meningitis: headaches, vomiting, neck stiffness, etc.
  • Acute Flaccid Paralysis (less than 1% of cases)

Acute Flaccid Paralysis

When polio manifests through symptoms, the consequences can be serious. The poliovirus can spread to the central nervous system and cause paralysis. In a certain number of cases, the paralysis is irreversible. Furthermore, it can lead to death when the respiratory or swallowing muscles are affected. 

Other diseases can cause Acute Flaccid Paralysis, such as for example Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Sciensano centralises and analyses data related to Acute Flaccid Paralysis and enteroviruses. 

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