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Polio
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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Polio

Polio is a disease caused by a virus. People have feared polio for hundreds of years because it can paralyze arm, leg, and breathing muscles.
Polio virus is spread when invisible particles of feces (poop) get into your mouth. You can get polio by swallowing contaminated food or water or by putting contaminated objects in your mouth.
Polio can be very serious. Sometimes the infected person's legs or arms become permanently paralyzed from the virus. Polio can also paralyze the breathing muscles and cause death.
Polio has been eliminated from the U.S., thanks to vaccination. But the virus is still common in some parts of the world, so your child would be at risk of infection if they traveled to certain countries without being vaccinated. The virus could also be brought into the U.S. by a traveler.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent polio disease.
Polio Vaccine Schedule
You can protect your child from polio with vaccination. All children should get 3 doses of polio vaccine as babies (starting at 2 months of age) and a booster dose at 4-6 years old. If your child misses a dose or gets behind schedule, make sure they get the next dose as soon as possible.
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Trusted Websites
Polio
Polio
Find fact sheets for parents and children, resources, multimedia, and more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
>> CDC Features: A Polio-Free U.S. Thanks to Vaccine Efforts
>> Global Health: Polio
Information about Polio
Information about Polio
Includes information about the disease, immunization, recommendations, and resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics
A Look at Each Vaccine: Polio
A Look at Each Vaccine: Polio
Questions and answers about the disease and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center
Post-Polio Health International
Post-Polio Health International
Organization helps enhance the lives and independence of polio survivors and home ventilator users through education and research
View all diseases and vaccines
Video Library
Video: Twin Voices - A Memoir of Polio
Twin Voices - A Memoir of Polio: This book trailer for "Twin Voices," by Janice Flood Nichols, provides a unique and timely glimpse into polio, a virus that killed and maimed millions of children and adults during the twentieth century.
>> view all polio videos
Personal Testimonies
Stories of suffering and loss from polio
Through A Child's Eyes: A child's polio experience
Polio Victim Entreats Parents to Say "Yes" to Vaccines
Polio Survivor Recalls Tragic Loss of Twin Brother and Classmates to the Disease
>> view all personal testimonies
More Polio Information
Polio: Make sure your child is protected
Polio: Make sure your child is protected
Vaccine summary for parents
>> Spanish-language
Polio: Questions & Answers
Polio Q&As
Polio disease and vaccine information
Clear Answers & Smart Advice About Your Baby’s Shots
Clear Answers & Smart Advice About Your Baby’s Shots
By Ari Brown, MD, FAAP
Polio: Overview for Parents
Overview for Parents
Frequently asked questions
>> Spanish-language
Polio Fact Sheet
Polio Fact Sheet
More in-depth information, includes a real-life story
Polio Photos
Some of the images are quite graphic
>> view polio photos
 
This page was reviewed on March 3, 2014
Immunization Action Coalition  •  1573 Selby Avenue, Suite 234  •  Saint Paul, MN 55104
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.