Polio - Prevention

Polio can now be prevented by immunizations. An immunization is an injection that protects a person against some type of infectious disease. Two kinds of polio immunizations are available in the United States. The Salk vaccine contains dead polioviruses. It is injected just under the skin. The dead viruses cause the immune system to start making antibodies against the poliovirus. If a person is infected with the poliovirus later in life, the immune system can protect the body against the disease.

The Sabin vaccine contains polioviruses that are very weak but not dead. They produce the same effect on the immune system as dead viruses. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing polio. In fact, some public-health experts think the disease may be completely wiped out in the next decade.

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