Polio – Malawi
1 case of wild polio has been identified in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. It is the first case since 2016 in Africa.
Polio symptoms are the same mild, flu-like signs and symptoms typical of other viral illnesses. A more severe form can lead to the typical paralysis of patients.
The case has been identified to be related to the Afghan subtype of Polio. Thus Malawi still has the status as Polio-free.
Photo: Polio virus, colorized.
Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease caused by a virus. In about 0.5 percent of cases, it moves from the gut to affect the central nervous system and there is muscle weakness. Many people fully recover. However, years after recovery, post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.
The disease is preventable with the polio vaccine; however, multiple doses are required for it to be effective.
Poliomyelitis has existed for thousands of years, with depictions of the disease in ancient art. The disease was first recognized as a distinct condition by the English physician Michael Underwood in 1789 and the virus that causes it was first identified in 1909 by the Austrian immunologist Karl Landsteiner. The first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s.
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