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Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Poliomyelitis (Polio) Causes

Poliomyelitis is caused by infection with the poliovirus, which destroys the nervous system resulting in paralysis. Infection is usually through human contact or by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. The virus is transmitted as long as it is in the saliva or feces.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) Definition

Poliomyelitis is a very contagious disease caused by poliovirus. The disease is usually referred to as polio or infantile paralysis.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) Diagnosis

Individuals suspected with the virus undergo a thorough physical examination and laboratory analysis. Stool, urine, and saliva samples are analyzed for presence of poliovirus. Lumbar puncture or spinal tap may also be administered. The patient is also asked whether they have received or completed the series of polio vaccines.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of poliomyelitis depend on the condition's degree of severity. Although majority of infected individuals do not exhibit symptoms, common symptoms include fever of up to 103F or 39.5C, decreased in appetite, nausea or vomiting, sore throat, or constipation. These symptoms may worsen depending on the severity of the condition.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) Treatment

Poliomyelitis can only be prevented through good hygiene, handwashing, and immunization against poliovirus. Treatment is based on the patient's medical history, age, extent of the disease, and tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies. Treatment is only to improve the patient's comfort, speedy recovery, and prevention of complications. Patients may be given analgesics or advised with bed rest until fever is reduced.

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