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  • a once common viral infection which can infect the spinal cord (transverse myelitis) and cause permanent paralysis
  • now re-emerging in Africa, Pakistan and the Middle East

clinical features

  • often asymptomatic
  • symptomatic patients have:
    • incubation period 3-21 days
    • initial prodrome:
      • fever
      • malaise
      • headache
      • nausea
      • vomiting
      • muscle stiffness
    • later rapid onset paralysis:
      • usually assymetric limb involvement causing acute flaccid paralysis
      • may have respiratory muscle or swallowing muscles affected


  • all infants should be vaccinated for polio at 2,4 and 6 months and have a booster at 4 yrs age
  • travellers to high risk areas should have proof of vaccination and may be required to have a booster before travel if staying greater than 4 weeks
  • those likely to be exposed (eg. healthcare workers in high risk areas or likely to Rx a returned traveller), should have had full vaccination and a booster every 10 years
  • as of 2014, high risk areas include:
    • Pakistan, Cameroon, Syria, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Nigeria
polio.txt · Last modified: 2014/06/02 12:05 (external edit)