Polio Home > Polio Prevention

Polio prevention begins with polio vaccination. Polio vaccine is highly effective in producing immunity to the poliovirus and protection from paralytic polio. Approximately 90 percent or more of polio vaccine recipients develop protective antibodies to all three poliovirus types after two doses, and at least 99 percent are immune following three doses. If vaccinations were stopped, polio would return to pre-vaccine levels in the United States and hundreds of people would die from polio-related illnesses.

An Overview of Polio Prevention

Polio is a disease caused by a virus that enters the body through the mouth. In many cases, polio does not cause serious illness. In other cases, polio can cause paralysis, which can kill someone if the muscles used for breathing become paralyzed.
 
Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people a year before there was a vaccine. The number of cases of polio decreased dramatically following the introduction of the polio vaccine and the development of a national vaccination program. In 1965, only 61 cases of paralytic polio were reported, compared to 2,525 cases reported cases just five years earlier in 1960. The last naturally occurring case of polio in the United States happened in 1979. Therefore, polio prevention begins with polio vaccination.
 

Polio Prevention: Polio Vaccine

Polio vaccine in the United States is administered as an inactivated polio vaccine that contains no live poliovirus. Polio vaccine is highly effective in producing immunity to the poliovirus and protection from paralytic polio. Approximately 90 percent or more of polio vaccine recipients develop protective antibodies to all three poliovirus types after two doses, and at least 99 percent are immune following three doses.
 
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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