What is polio?

     Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that affects the motor neurons of the nervous system. While polio negatively affects only a small number of the people that it manages to infect, those who experience the full-brunt of the disease are often left with permanent paralysis in the lower extremities; therefore, polio is the largest cause of motor disabilities worldwide. Those who experience only minor and temporary side effects may recover quickly, but some polio survivors experience post-polio syndrome in later years of life.
     Although the mid-20th century brought widespread polio epidemics and an era of childhood fear, the successful race towards a vaccine has led to a worldwide effort to eradicate polio. Global efforts have eliminated the disease in most areas of the world and it remains endemic in only four countries. This disease continues to plague small regions of the world, but with massive immunization efforts, polio may soon become the second globally eradicated disease in the history of mankind.