(poliomyelitis) A viral disease, common in infants. Attacks the nerves, mostly of the spine, results in paralysis, then the destruction of muscle. Can leave permanent handicaps. All but gone from the developed world due to the development of a vaccine.
Polio is a contagious and highly devastating disease caused by a virus. It is spread through person-to-person contact. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms may include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. After the virus spreads throughout the body, it destroys the nerve cells that activate muscles. These nerve cells cannot be regenerated and the affected muscles no longer function. Paralysis is irreversible.
A highly contagious infectious disease caused by a filterable virus and occurring most commonly in children; in its acute form it involves the spinal cord causing paralysis.