Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) improves the health of British Columbians by seeking province-wide solutions to specialized health care needs in collaboration with BC health authorities and other partners.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system, causing
paralysis and difficulty breathing.Widespread use of the polio vaccine has caused polio to be eliminated from many parts of the world. In 1994, Canada was certified as a "polio-free" country. Within the last 30 years, the only polio cases in British Columbia were non-vaccinated residents who had contact with polio-infected visitors from another country.
Polio (poliomyelitis) is a very contagious disease caused by infection with a virus. While some infected people show no symptoms, others can develop paralysis (because the virus affects the parts of the nervous system controlling muscle function) and may die.
Symptoms can include:
Polio causes permanent paralysis (usually in the legs) in 1 of every 200 people infected.
Among those paralysed, 5-10% die when their breathing muscles stop working.
There is no cure for polio. Polio is prevented by vaccination and sanitary measures (see below).
Immunization with polio vaccine is the best way to prevent the disease.
BC Centre for Disease Control. All Rights Reserved.