- Polio is an infectious disease caused by polioviruses that can result in
symptoms ranging from none to lifelong disability or death.
- Risk factors are
highest for those people unvaccinated against polio, young children,
immunosuppressed people, pregnant females, those people living or traveling in
areas where polio is endemic, and polio patient caregivers.
- Polio symptoms first
begin like any other viral illness; progressive symptoms include muscle
discomfort and muscle paralysis with late symptoms of muscle atrophy, weakness,
extremity disfigurement, and breathing problems in some patients.
- People who
have risk factors or symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
of polio is made by clinical observation of symptoms and by tests that detect
the polio viruses in samples taken from the patient.
- There is no medical cure
for polio; medical treatment is designed to reduce symptoms.
- There are many
surgical methods used to help relieve symptoms of polio (mainly bone, joint, and
- Follow-up is very important to help relieve symptoms and
to be ready to treat post-polio syndrome if it develops.
- Prevention of polio is
possible with appropriate vaccination treatments; avoiding contact with polio
viruses by good hygiene and avoiding areas where polio is endemic also help
- The prognosis for most people who are infected by the polio
viruses is good, but those few patients who develop paralytic polio have a
prognosis ranging from good to poor, depending on the severity of infection.
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