Polio Home > Poliovirus

Poliovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes the medical condition polio. When a person is infected with this virus, it is expected that polio transmission among susceptible household contacts will occur in nearly 100 percent of children and more than 90 percent of adults. Transmission most often occurs through contact with stool of the infected person (known as fecal-oral transmission). Less frequently, the virus can be spread through contact with infected respiratory secretions or saliva (oral-oral transmission).

What Is Poliovirus?

Poliovirus is a virus that causes the medical condition polio. The virus is a single-stranded RNA virus from the family Picornaviridae and genus enterovirus. Poliovirus only infects humans and is more common during summer months in temperate climates. In tropical climates, there is no seasonal pattern. The poliovirus is rapidly inactivated by heat, formaldehyde, chlorine, and ultraviolet light.
Polio is also known as:

Poliovirus and Other Enteroviruses

Enteroviruses are named because of their ability to infect the gastrointestinal tract and to shed into the feces. Enteroviruses can cause varying temporary or permanent damage, including:
There are more than 70 types of enteroviruses. The most common enteroviruses that infect humans include:
  • Poliovirus
  • Coxsackievirus
  • Echovirus.
There are three subtypes of poliovirus (known as serotypes), which include: P1, P2, and P3.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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