Other Names for this Disease
- Infantile paralysis
Poliomyelitis is a viral disease that can affect nerves and can lead to partial or full paralysis. It is caused by infection with the poliovirus which can be spread by direct person-to-person contact, by contact with infected mucus or phlegm from the nose or mouth, or by contact with infected feces. Since the development of polio vaccine, the incidence of the disease has been greatly reduced. There are three basic patterns of polio infection: subclinical infections, nonparalytic, and paralytic. Approximately 95% of infections are subclinical infections, which may not have symptoms. Clinical poliomyelitis affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and is divided into nonparalytic and paralytic forms. It may occur after recovery from a subclinical infection. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms while the infection runs its course. The prognosis depends on the form of the disease (subclinical, nonparalytic, or paralytic) and the site affected. If the spinal cord and brain are not involved, which is the case more than 90% of the time, complete recovery is likely.
- Vorvick L, Vyas JM. Poliomyelitis. MedlinePlus. 2009; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001402.htm. Accessed 9/7/2010.
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- MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic. Click on the link to view this information.
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition. Click on the link to view the information.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) produces guidelines and standards, helps countries to address public health issues, and supports and promotes health research. The WHO has developed a fact sheet on this condition. To view the fact sheet, click on the link.
- eMedicine has three articles on this topic from the perspective of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Orthopedic Surgery and Pediatrics. You may need to register to view the information online, but registration is free. Click on the links above to view the articles from this medical reference Web site.