Polio is a disease that impairs neurological function. In severe cases, it may lead to paralysis and even death.


Most people who are infected with polio have no symptoms. About 4-8% of infected persons have minor flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, stiffness in the neck and back and pain in the limbs, which often resolve completely. Fewer that 1% of polio cases result in permanent paralysis of the limbs (usually the legs). Of those paralyzed, less than 10% die when the parylsis affects the respiratory muscles. The death rate is higher in older people. Primary polio infection is extremely rare in the United STates but there are still areas of the world where it is more common.


Travelers should check with a health care provider to see if they are traveling into a polio-endemic area and need a polio vaccine booster prior to their trips. Concerning areas may include East, Central and West Africa, Eastern Europe, Northern Asia and South Asia.

Polio Vaccine

The polio vaccine can prevent polio if administered properly. Four doses are usually administered. The first dose is usually given at birth and the series of vaccinations is completed by age six. Two different types of the polio vaccine exist: the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).

Although very rare, children that receive the OPV may actually get polio from the vaccine itself. The frequency is only about one in 2.4 million people that will get polio from the OPV. It is recommended that children receive IPV for their first 2 doses and OPV for their last 2 doses, in order to provide the advantages of both types. After 4 doses, most children have immunity to polio. The vaccine may in rare cases cause serious reactions such as allergic reactions (hives, difficulty breathing) or even death.

UHS offers the Inactive Polio vaccine (IPV) for $30.00.