Poliomyelitis is an acute viral infection, caused by the member of Enterovirus called poliovirus. It is an infantile paralysis. And, can easily be transferred from one person to another by the fecal-oral route. In 1% of cases globally, it is seen that the virus enters the Central Nervous System of the patient. This leads to damaged motor neurons, and muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis. In rest 90% of the cases there is no symptom at all. The polio disease is divided into different types depending upon the kind of symptoms it shows. Spinal polio is found in the highest number. It generally paralyzes the legs. Bulbar polio leads to the weakening of the muscles innervated by the cranial nerves. The Bulbo Spinal polio is polio of bulbar and spinal paralysis. Polio infection can be described into two main categories such as minor illness, also called Abortive Poliomyelitis. This type of disease is generally asymptomatic. The other one causes major illness involving the CNS, this may or may not be paralytic. In around 3% of the patients, the polio virus enters the CNS of the patient.
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Though, anybody can catch this disease, especially the infants. Some of the risk factors of this disease are immune deficiency, malnutrition and tonsillectomy. Those with skeletal muscle injury due to vaccination or any other therapeutic agents and pregnancy also come in the risk zone of poliomyelitis.
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The common symptoms of this disease are:-
- The patient may complain of sore throat and fever.
- There may be gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting etc.
- One may also complain of abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Influenza like symptoms are also commonly seen in the patients.
- In case of aseptic meningitis the patient may feel pain in head, neck and back.
- He/she may also complain of abdominal and pain in the extremity, fever and vomiting.
- One may also feel lethargy and irritability.
- In case of paralytic attacks the muscles become weak and floppy.
- The muscles are poorly controlled leading to complete paralysis at a later stage.
- In rare cases encephalitis is also seen in patients, though it is usually restricted to infants only.
- The common symptoms during that time are confusion, changes in the mental status, fever and headache.
- Some of the lesser known symptoms are seizures and spastic paralysis.
Poliomyelitis can be prevented by passive immunization. This effectively reduces the severity of the symptoms in patients already suffering from this disease. There are two main types of polio vaccines. The Salk vaccine contains inactivated polio virus. It requires at least two dosage of vaccine to induce required amount of the immunity to the patient. The Sabin vaccine contains attenuated poliovirus. A single dose of Sabin oral polio vaccine can produce immunity to all the three poliovirus serotypes.
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The mode of treatment basically rotates on the factors of providing relief of associated symptoms, speeding the procedure of recovery and preventing further complications. Antibiotics are administered to prevent the infection in the weakened muscles. Analgesics are given for the pain, doctor may also recommend you moderate exercises and a nutritious diet. The treatment may also include long term rehabilitation and physical therapy, braces and the corrective shoes. Some patients may also require surgery.
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