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Poliomyelitis is better know as Polio.

Poliomyelitis is a viral disease which may affect the central nervous system. Since Poliomyelitis immunization has become widespread, cases of Poliomyelitis are very rare.

Who gets Poliomyelitis?

Poliomyelitis is more common in infants and young children and occurs under conditions of poor hygiene. However, paralysis is more common and more severe when infection occurs in older individuals. In exceedingly rare cases, oral Poliomyelitis vaccine has caused paralytic Poliomyelitis in a person who received the vaccine or in a person who was a close contact of a vaccine recipient.

How is Poliomyelitis spread?

Poliomyelitis is predominately spread through the feces.

What are the symptoms of Poliomyelitis?

Infection ranges in severity from an unapparent infection to a paralytic disease which may result in death. Symptoms include fever, malaise, headache, nausea and vomiting, excruciating muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and back.

How soon after infection do symptoms appear?

The incubation period is usually six to 20 days for paralytic cases, with a range of three to 35 days.

When and for how long is a person able to spread Poliomyelitis?

Patients are most infectious from seven to 10 days before and after the onset of symptoms. However, patients are potentially contagious as long as the virus is present in the throat and feces. The virus persists in the throat for approximately one week after the onset of illness and is excreted in the feces for several weeks or, occasionally, months.

Does past infection with Poliomyelitis make a person immune?

There are three types of Poliomyelitis virus. Lifelong immunity usually depends on which type of virus a person contracts. Second attacks are rare and result from infection with a Poliomyelitis virus of a different type than the first attack.

What is the treatment for Poliomyelitis?

There is presently no cure for Poliomyelitis. Treatment involves supportive care.

What are the complications associated with Poliomyelitis?

Complications include paralysis (most commonly of the legs). Paralysis of the muscles of respiration and swallowing can be fatal.

Is there a vaccine for Poliomyelitis?

Two types of Poliomyelitis vaccine are available: trivalent oral Infantile Paralysis vaccine (tOPV) and inactivated Poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV). In July 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that IPV be used exclusively in the United States beginning in 2000. The recommended schedule for childhood immunization is for IPV to be given at two, four, and six to eight months of age and between four to six years of age. Adults travelling to countries where Poliomyelitis cases are occurring should review their immunization status.

How can Poliomyelitis be prevented?

Maintaining high levels of Poliomyelitis immunization in the community is the single most effective preventive measure.


This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.


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