Polio is a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes paralysis, difficulty in breathing and sometimes death. Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. Polio is spread through person-to-person contact. When a child is infected with wild poliovirus, the virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. It is then shed into the environment through the faeces where it can spread rapidly through a community, especially in situations of poor hygiene and sanitation. If a sufficient number of children are fully immunized against polio, the virus is unable to find susceptible children to infect, and dies out. Young children who are not yet toilet-trained are a ready source of transmission, regardless of their environment. Polio can be spread when food or drink is contaminated by faeces. Most people infected with the poliovirus have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. These symptomless people carry the virus in their intestines and can “silently” spread the infection to thousands of others before the first case of polio paralysis emerges.
Most infected people (90%) have no symptoms or very mild symptoms and usually go unrecognized. In others, initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs.
There is no cure for polio, only treatment to alleviate the symptoms. Heat and physical therapy is used to stimulate the muscles and antispasmodic drugs are given to relax the muscles. While this can improve mobility, it cannot reverse permanent polio paralysis. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops.
A healthy society is one of the objectives of our programs and we make sure that we contribute in every possible way to the achievement of this objective. Recently, a polio camp was organized in Phule Nagar area in Powai by Mumbai Municipal Corporation and we made sure that we let out our balwadi premises for conducting this camp.
Overall, 274 children were vaccinated. Suman Mole, Health worker BMC, had the following to say: “We are very thankful to Mumbai Smiles for providing us with such a spacious and clean center. It helps us connect with the community members and give health care tips. Polio prevention has been a challenging objective to accomplish in the communities.”