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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Poliomyelitis


Other Names for this Disease

  • Infantile paralysis
  • Polio
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

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.[1]

Last updated: 9/7/2010

References

  1. 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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Please contact us with your questions about Poliomyelitis. We will answer your question and update these pages with new resources and information.

Basic Information

  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • 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.

In Depth Information

  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • 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.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Poliomyelitis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Infantile paralysis
  • Polio
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.