Polio is also known as poliomyelitis and infantile paralysis. It is a vary contagious, viral disease. It leads to damage of the cells which control movement both within the brain and within the spinal cord. Post polio syndrome may occur many years after the initial infection and produce progressive weakness, atrophy and pain. The only method to prevent polio is through immunization. Although developed countries are fairly aggressive in having their population immunized, polio is still common in much of the world. It is a risk to travelers who are not immunized particularly in parts of Asia and Africa.
Causes of Polio
Polio is a highly contagious viral infection. It is spread through contact with contaminated water or food. It can also be spread though droplets expelled when coughing or sneezing.
Signs and Symptoms of Polio
The symptoms reflect the progression of the disease. Most people contracting the disease results in no symptoms or mild illness. At first, headache, fever and sore throat develop. Nausea and vomiting may occur. As neurological involvement begins, an individual may complain of difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, muscle spasms and pain. Abdominal swelling and constipation as well as difficulty urinating may occur. Last, as the muscles of respiration become involved, difficulty breathing may occur.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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