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Polio Symptoms and Signs
The vast majority of patients in the past and currently who have been infected with polio viruses show little or no symptoms and are unaware they have been infected. Patients who do show symptoms fall into two major groups, non-paralytic polio and paralytic polio. These groups are also termed minor (nonparalytic) and major (paralytic).
Non-paralytic polio, or abortive polio infections, involve the development of flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, headache, malaise, neck, and back and muscle stiffness or discomfort) that usually subside quickly (about 10 days with a few lasting a week or so longer) with complete resolution. Rare but potentially severe symptoms with complications can develop with paralytic polio. The initial symptoms mimic non-paralytic polio symptoms, but in about a week, paralytic symptoms of severe muscle aches and spasms, loss of reflexes, and flaccid paralysis (extremities are not controllable; they become floppy) develop. The paralysis may also occur suddenly and is sometimes worse on one side of the body. Breathing may become inhibited. Paralytic polio includes all forms of polio viruses that infect the central nervous system.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/24/2015
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