Cure for Polio
Although polio has no cure, prevention is available through a vaccine. In the United States, it is given as an inactivated polio vaccine. 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.
When a person is infected with poliovirus, there is only one cure -- time. If signs and symptoms of polio do occur, treatment for polio is supportive, which means treating the symptoms and possible complications.
Fortunately, in most cases, the body is able to effectively kill the poliovirus. Approximately 95 to 99 percent of people who are infected with poliovirus never develop polio symptoms, or they develop minor symptoms that cause no long-term problems. Less than 1 percent of people suffer disability (such as paralysis) from a poliovirus infection. In most cases, there are no long-term effects from polio.
The best cure for polio is preventing it from happening in the first place. Polio prevention is best accomplished with the polio vaccine.
(Click Polio Prevention for more information about preventing polio.)
Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century in the United States. There were usually about 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio reported each year in the United States before the introduction of Salk polio vaccine in 1955.
The number of cases of polio disease 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.
Polio vaccine in the United States is given as an inactivated polio vaccine. This polio vaccine contains no live poliovirus. The vaccine is highly effective in producing immunity to 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 of polio vaccine.
With the continued success of polio vaccination programs, a cure for the disease could be possible within the next decade.
(Click Polio Vaccine for more information about the different polio vaccines.)