Poliomyelitis (or "polio") is a viral infection that can cause paralysis and death. In the past, polio was common especially in children. Now due to immunisation, polio is rare in most parts of the world, although it persists in some developing countries.
Immunisation protects people against polio. While transmission does not currently occur in Australia, the poliovirus could be imported and spread amongst unimmunised populations.
There is no specific cure for polio and treatment is mainly to support cases with acute flaccid paralysis while their weakness is severe. Cases with acute flaccid paralysis may require intensive care to assist breathing.
Hospitals, laboratories, school principles and childcare centres must notify suspected cases of polio to the local public health unit. Public health units will investigate suspect cases and review possible sources of infection to prevent further spread. If a case is detected in Australia, people who are at risk may need to be immunised again against polio.
For further information please call your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055