Poliomyelitis and Post-Polio Syndrome

Poliomyelitis is characterized by rapidly developing flaccid paralysis which is often asymmetrical. Bulbar symptoms, most commonly pharyngeal paresis, respiratory distress may be caused by damage to the respiratory centre may be present. Recovery begins within a few weeks from the onset of symptoms and is complete in about 6 months. Functional recovery is fairly good in those muscles that were not completely paralysed. Some patients afflicted with poliomyelitis develop increased weakness and fatigue in the muscles affected by the disease, or varying degrees of muscle and joint pain many years or even decades after their acute illness (post polio syndrome). Treatment consists of maintaining muscle activity and avoiding overexertion; the need for assistive devices should also be assessed.


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