Polio Information and Resources

Get to Know Polio!

Four things you probably didn't know about Polio:

  1. It is still present in the world today.
  2. It can lead to a devastating syndrome called Post-Polio Syndrome in later life.
  3. You'd be surprised how many Canadian survivors there are; Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Donald Sutherland, just to name a few! 
  4. There are 31,000 Canadians living with the after effects of the disease today.

What is polio?

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease.

How do you think polio is transmitted? 

According the Centre for Disease Control the Poliovirus only infects humans. 
  • Spreads through person-to-person contact. 
  • Virus lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines. 
  • Through the mouth and spreads through contact with the feces (poop) of an infected person and, though less common, through droplets from a sneeze or cough. 
  • You can get infected with poliovirus if you have feces on your hands and you touch your mouth. You are really contagious for 1 to 2 weeks after symptoms appear. 
  • Virus can live in an infected person’s feces for many weeks.
  • It can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions.
  • People who don’t have symptoms can still pass the virus to others and make them sick.

Symptoms of Polio 

1 out of 4 people with poliovirus infection will have flu-like symptoms. These symptoms often go away on their own! A small percentage will develop:
  • Paralysis (can’t move parts of the body) or weakness in the arms, legs, or both, occurs in about 1 out of 200 people with poliovirus infection.
  • As high as 10% of people who have paralysis from poliovirus infection die because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe.
  • Even children who seem to fully recover can develop new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis as adults, 15 to 40 years later.​ This is called post-polio syndrome.

Last reported case of polio in Canada

The last indigenous case was in 1988. Canada was declared “polio free” in 1994 by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Services available to Canadians still affected by Polio

​Post-Polio Canada®​, a program of March of Dimes Canada offers support and services for many of these survivors today.

Polio Vaccinations 

Would you consider getting vaccinated against Polio? Oh wait! There is a high chance that you already are! 
  • According to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care; (DTaP-IPV-Hib) is a combined vaccine that protects children against five diseases ― diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and serious diseases like meningitis caused by the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) germ.
  • Vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and polio is required by law for all children attending school in Ontario (unless exempted).

Exercise and Fall Prevention Classes​

March of Dimes Canada, Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network (MH LHIN) and PT Health are now offering Exercise and Fall Prevention classes. 

View the schedule below for a listing of Mississauga Halton region classes:
Mississauga Halton LHIN Exercise and Fall Prevention classesView Mississauga Halton LHIN Exercise and Fall Prevention class schedule​​​​​

MH LHIN and PT Health also offer an Advanced Osteoporosis Exercise and Education Program. 
Mississauga Halton LHIN Exercise and Fall Prevention classesView Osteoporosis Exercise and Education Program brochure​​​​ and schedule​


PolioO’Canada is the official newsletter of the March of Dimes Polio Canada program. Sent out bi-annually, PoliO’Canada is free and features the latest news on polio, ed​ucation, resources and survivor stories.

PoliO'Canada - Fall/Winter 2016Latest issue:

Polio Canada Information Package

  1.  What is Post-Polio Canada
  2. Peer Support Groups
  3. Self Management of a Chronic Disease
  4. The History of polio
  5. What is post-polio syndrome
  6. Living with post-polio syndrome
  7. Pacing and Balanced Lifestyle
  8. Surgery
  9. Intimacy and post-polio
  10. Resources and Links

Information for Medical Professionals about Post-Polio Syndrome

Vaccination: Facts and Myths

Canadian Links

International Links

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