Infectious Diseases: Polio (Poliomyelitis)

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Thankfully, polio is extremely rare in Canada today because of widespread immunization. It is still common, however, in some countries.


Often produces no symptoms or minor symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headaches, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, stiff neck and pain in the arms and legs. Muscles can become paralyzed. In severe cases, the brain and respiratory system are affected.


Caused by one of three gastrointestinal viruses: poliovirus 1, 2 or 3.


There is no specific treatment for polio. For severe cases, supportive care may help a person recover.


Spread from person to person by mucus from the nose or throat or by the fecal-oral route. Ask your doctor when your child should be immunized.

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