What is polio?
Poliomyelitis or polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a viral infection brought upon by the poliovirus.
The poliovirus targets nerve cells (motor neurons) in the nervous system. It can cause degeneration and death of motor neurons in the spinal cord.
Once motor neurons in the spinal cord fail to regenerate, it can lead to polio’s most severe symptom, paralysis.
Most often, paralysis causes a lifelong disability, and about 5% to 10% of people diagnosed with paralytic polio, die from the disease.
Most patients infected by the poliovirus will not show noticeable signs and symptoms, and the rest would most likely exhibit flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, headache, and fever.
Detecting Polio based on Symptoms
Detecting polio based on symptoms can be quite difficult since the majority of people infected by the poliovirus are asymptomatic. On the other hand, you may determine the severity or type of polio a patient has depending on the visible symptoms they’re showing.
Detecting polio based on symptoms: Abortive polio
This is a minor or mild type of polio that is commonly diagnosed in young children. Its symptoms usually manifest 3 to 5 days after being exposed to the poliovirus, and recovery is about 24 to 72 hours.
Abortive polio symptoms include:
- Mild fever
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- A decreased appetite
Detecting polio based on symptoms: Non-paralytic polio
This is more severe than abortive polio but milder than paralytic polio. A person with non-paralytic polio might show symptoms quite alike to abortive polio that will subside for some time but will eventually reoccur. Recovery from non-paralytic polio may last from 24 hours to 10 days.