Polio, or poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. Most people who get infected will not have any symptoms, however less than 1% of infections lead to irreversible paralysis. Symptoms of minor illness include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Poliovirus is transmitted from person to person mainly by contact with secretions or feces from an infected person. As a result of vaccination, Canada has been polio free since 1994. There are only a few countries in the world where the disease remains and work towards global eradication of polio continues.

Acute Flaccid Paralysis
Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) is a rare clinical syndrome defined as the sudden onset of muscle weakness or paralysis which has many causes, both infectious and non-infectious, including poliovirus. AFP surveillance is conducted as part of global polio eradication to rule out the possibility of poliovirus infection and document the absence of polio virus. Documenting polio specific investigations, in cases of AFP, regardless of suspected diagnosis is one means by which Canada maintains its polio-free status. AFP has been reportable in Ontario since 2013.

To obtain or inquire about an immunization record, or for general immunization information, please contact your local public health unit.


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Updated 1 May 2019