Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious vaccine preventable disease. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age, but affects mainly children under three. Most people infected with the poliovirus have no signs of illness; symptomless people can spread the infection to thousands of others before the first case of polio paralysis emerges.
Samples from suspected cases can be refered for testing in the Reference Laboratory in CfI, Public Health England. For more information please see the Reference Laboratory service pages.