Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of polio?

Most people who are infected with polio do not have any symptoms. Those who get symptoms may experience:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • aching muscles
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • stiff neck or back

It can take from 7 to 14 days for symptoms to appear.

In less than 1% of cases, polio will damage a person's nervous system. The nervous system is how the brain and spinal cord work together to control body movements. Polio can paralyze muscles and result in death if the muscles that control breathing are paralyzed. Nerve and muscle damage is permanent.

What to do if you become ill

There is no cure for polio. But it can be prevented through immunization.

If you or your children have flu-like symptoms after travelling to a country where polio is still present, see your doctor or health care provider right away. Describe your symptoms over the phone before your appointment, so that the clinic can arrange to see you without exposing others to the poliovirus.

It is important to identify cases of polio so that it does not spread.

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