Polio is a highly contagious viral infection caused by a type of enterovirus. It can cause paralysis or weakness in arms, legs or both.

People who are not vaccinated can get polio at any age. The most important way for children and adults to protect themselves from polio is to get vaccinated right away, if they have not received all recommended polio vaccine doses.

There is no specific medicine for polio treatment. If you or a family member get polio, a health care provider can help you address symptoms and complications of the disease.

Learn more about polio.

Children and adults who have not received all recommended polio vaccine doses should get vaccinated right away to protect themselves from polio.

Children should get four doses of poliovirus vaccine, starting at age 2 months. People starting the vaccine series after age 4 should receive a total of three doses. Adults who were fully vaccinated as children and who are at risk of exposure now should get one adult booster dose vaccine.

You can get the inactivated polio vaccine. This vaccine is safe and effective. Side effects are mild, including soreness of the arm or leg at the injection site. It cannot give you polio or cause paralysis.

If you or your child are not vaccinated yet, talk to your health care provider about getting the vaccine. If you do not have a doctor or other health care provider, visit the Find a Doctor page for help finding one.

Vaccination Appointments

Adults and children ages 4 years and older can also get their polio vaccine at the NYC Health Department’s Fort Greene Health Center. Appointments are required.

Bring your vaccination record and insurance information with you to the clinic.

Appointments can be scheduled online or by phone.

Online

Schedule an appointment at the Fort Greene Health Center.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Most people infected with the virus do not have any symptoms. One in four people with an infection will have flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and stomach pain

Symptoms may start to appear three to six days after exposure. Paralysis can occur between seven and 21 days after exposure.

One in 25 people with an infection will get viral meningitis, and about one in 200 people will have paralysis.

Polio can leave you permanently unable to move parts of your body. It most commonly paralyzes the legs. In severe cases, polio can paralyze the muscles you use to breathe or swallow. This can cause death.

People who have polio can spread it to others through their feces on hands or objects. It is important to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. It is also possible to spread the virus through saliva and respiratory droplets.

A person can spread the virus before and up to two weeks after they first have symptoms. It can spread from people even if they do not have any symptoms.

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