December 22 21:25 2019 Print This Article

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is a virally induced infectious disease which spreads via the fecal-oral route. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. The majority of individuals who are infected with polio, however, have no symptoms and few have mild symptoms. This infection can lead to temporary paralysis  or, in more severe cases, permanent paralysis or death.

The worldwide prevalence of this infection has decreased significantly since then because of aggressive immunization programs. It is an RNA virus that is transmitted through the oral-fecal route or by ingestion of contaminated water. Three serotypes are able to cause human infection. In the pre-vaccine era, infection with poliovirus was common, with epidemics occurring in the summer and fall in temperate areas. Through vaccination, the disease is preventable. Also called infantile paralysis.

Poliomyelitis is an enteroviral infection that can manifest in 4 different forms: inapparent infection, abortive disease, nonparalytic poliomyelitis, and paralytic disease. It is acquired by fecal-oral or oral transmission. An ancient disease, it was first recognized as a medical entity by Jakob Heine in 1840. Since the advent of the polio vaccine during the early 1950’s, infections from the poliovirus have nearly been eradicated. The destruction of motor neurons leads to the development of flaccid paralysis, which may be bulbar or spinal in distribution.

Though there are many descriptions of lame and crippled children in the Bible and other early writings, the descriptions are typically too brief to be undeniably identified as polio-related. In spite of these recent outbreaks, the global polio eradication initiative has reduced the number of reported polio cases worldwide by >99% since the mid-1980s, and worldwide eradication of the disease appears feasible in the future. More than 90% of infections are asymptomatic or result in non-specific fever only.

Causes of Poliomyelitis

The comman causes of Poliomyelitis include the following:

  • Polio is caused by a picornavirus (very small RNA virus). This is one of a group of viruses known as the enteroviruses, because they inhabit the intestine (the Greek word enteron means intestine).
  • Usually this occurs from poor handwashing or from ingestion of contaminated food or water.
  • Deformities present at birth (congenital).
  • Transmission of the virus occurs by direct person-to-person contact, by contact with infected secretions from the nose or mouth, or by contact with infected feces.
  • Lack of immunization against polio.
  • Neuromuscular disorders, such as cerebral palsy or post-polio syndrome (post-poliomyelitis).

Symptoms of Poliomyelitis

Some sign and symptoms related to Poliomyelitis are as follows:

  • A bulging bump on the inside of the base of your big toe.
  • Fever (up to 103°F or 39.5°C) decreased appetite.
  • Corns or calluses caused by overlapping first and second toes.
  • Headache.
  • Not feeling well all over.
  • Constipation.
  • General discomfort or uneasiness ( malaise ).
  • Sore throat.
  • Red throat.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Treatment of Poliomyelitis

Here is list of the methods for treating Poliomyelitis:

  • Treatment of pain with analgesics (such as acetaminophen).
  • Complications of paralytic poliomyelitis may include permanent paralysis of certain muscle groups including breathing muscles and leg muscles.
  • Antibiotics may be used to treat urinary tract infections.
  • Moist heat (heating pads, warm towels, etc.) may reduce muscle pain and spasm.
  • Physical therapy: The heating effect of ultrasound therapy or whirlpool baths can provide relief from the pain and inflammation of a bunion.
  • If the muscles you need to breathe become too weak or paralyzed, you may require a period of time on a mechanical ventilator which will take over the work of breathing for you.
  • Hospitalization may be required for those individuals who develop paralytic poliomyelitis.