Open all pages about Polio
Polio is caused by a virus that usually spreads through contact with the poo of an infected person. It's mainly found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Polio can be prevented by vaccination. Children in the UK are routinely vaccinated against it. You can also get vaccinated before travelling abroad.
Most people with polio do not have any symptoms or only have mild symptoms like a high temperature and headaches. Rarely, polio can cause paralysis.
There is no treatment for polio, but some types of care, such as pain relief and stretches, will help lower the risk of long-term problems.
Some people can have long-term or lifelong problems caused by polio. These can include muscle weakness, stiff joints and swallowing difficulties.
Polio is a very rare but serious infection. It can be prevented with vaccination, but is still found in a few countries.
Page last reviewed: 04/07/2022
Next review due: 23/05/2025