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What is Poliomyelitis?

It is an infection caused by the polio virus. It is a serious disease affecting a person’s brain and spinal cord. Infection with the poliovirus can lead to a life-threatening muscular paralysis of the body.

What are the causes of poliomyelitis?

The poliovirus is spread when food, water or hands that are contaminated with the faeces (poo) or the throat or nasal secretions of an infected person enter the mouth of an uninfected person.

Can physiotherapy help people with poliomyelitis?

Yes. Targeted physiotherapy at different stages of the illness may therefore help to restore strength, to prevent deformity, and to rehabilitate patients.

What are the symptoms of poliomyelitis?

  • Fever

  • Tiredness and weakness (malaise)

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle stiffness

  • Severe muscle pain

  • Stiffness of the neck and back – with or without paralysis

  • Swallowing and breathing problems

  • Long-term disability – due to paralysis of the muscles

  • Death – in severe cases, when breathing and swallowing muscles are paralysed

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