Poliovirus particles. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of poliovirus particles. Each virus consists of a protein coat (capsid) surrounding a core of RNA (ribonucleic acid) genetic material. Poliovirus infects children causing the disease poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis. Although it normally only causes a mild illness, in some cases it infects the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause severe damage, which can be fatal. Vaccination, which started in the 1950s, has been successful in controlling the disease. It has now been eliminated from Europe.
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