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Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Also called: Infantile paralysis, PPS, Poliomyelitis

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus lives in an infected person's throat and intestines. It is most often spread by contact with the stool of an infected person. You can also get it from droplets if an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can contaminate food and water if people do not wash their hands.

Most people have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, flu-like symptoms, stiff neck and back, and pain in the limbs. A few people will become paralyzed. There is no treatment to reverse the paralysis of polio.

Some people who've had polio develop post-polio syndrome (PPS) years later. Symptoms include tiredness, new muscle weakness, and muscle and joint pain. There is no way to prevent or cure PPS.

The polio vaccine has wiped out polio in the United States and most other countries.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following features are indicative of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • muscle weakness
  • joint weakness
  • fatigue
  • exhaustion
  • muscle atrophy
  • breathing problems
  • swallowing problems
  • sleep-related breathing disorders
  • decreased tolerance of cold temperatures
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • meningitis
  • back pain
  • joint pain
  • loss of reflexes
  • severe muscle aches
  • flaccid paralysis
It is possible that Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following are the most common causes of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • poliovirus
  • motor neuron damage

Risk Factors for Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • initial polio infection
  • children younger than age 5
  • excessive physical activity
  • acute polio recovery
  • compromised immune system
  • tonsillectomy
  • extreme stress

Prevention of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • get oral polio vaccine (OPV)

Occurrence of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Extremely rare less than 1000 cases

Common Age Group

Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: To rule out other conditions
  • Imaging tests: To see images of brain and spinal cord
  • Muscle biopsy: To look for evidence of another condition that could be causing the weakness
  • Blood tests: To check normal blood test results
  • Throat secretions sample test: To check the presence of poliovirus
  • Stool sample test: To check the presence of poliovirus
  • Cerebrospinal fluid sample test: To check the presence of poliovirus

Doctor for Diagnosis of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • Neurologist
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome if untreated

Yes, Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome is left untreated:
  • falls
  • malnutrition
  • pneumonia
  • dehydration
  • chronic respiratory failure
  • osteoporosis
  • temporary or permanent muscle paralysis
  • disability
  • deformities

Procedures for Treatment of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following procedures are used to treat Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • Physical therapy: To strengthen muscles without fatiguing them
  • Speech therapy: To compensate for swallowing difficulties
  • Sleep apnea treatment: To open airway when sleeping

Self-care for Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • Limit activities: Helps reducing pain and fatigue
  • Stay warm: Helps decreasing muscle fatigue
  • Avoid falls: To prevent injuries
  • Take balanced diet: To stay healthy
  • Quit smoking: To stay healthy

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome:
  • Practicing nutritional therapies: Provides natural self-healing
  • Practicing Yoga: Helps improving oxygenation and decrease general fatigue
  • Practicing Tai chi therapy: Helps improving oxygenation and decrease general fatigue
  • Practicing aquatic therapy: Helps easing pain and muscle spasms

Patient Support for Treatment of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

The following actions may help Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome patients:
  • Family and friends support: Share things about daily needs
  • Support groups: Talking things over with people who have similar problems can help cope with disease

Time for Treatment of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Is Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome Infectious?

Yes, Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • direct contact with infected person
  • contaminated water
  • contaminated food
  • feces contact

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome.

Related Topics

Paralysis

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