AskDefine | Define polio

Dictionary Definition

polio n : an acute viral disease marked by inflammation of nerve cells of the brain stem and spinal cord [syn: poliomyelitis, infantile paralysis, acute anterior poliomyelitis]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. Abbreviation of poliomyelitis

Italian

Noun

polio f inv
  1. Abbreviation of poliomielite

Extensive Definition

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route. The term derives from the Greek polio (πολίός), meaning "grey", myelon (µυελός), referring to the "spinal cord", and -itis, which denotes inflammation. Although around 90% of polio infections have no symptoms at all, affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the virus enters the blood stream. In fewer than 1% of cases the virus enters the central nervous system, preferentially infecting and destroying motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis. Different types of paralysis may occur, depending on the nerves involved. Spinal polio is the most common form, characterized by asymmetric paralysis that most often involves the legs. Bulbar polio leads to weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal polio is a combination of bulbar and spinal paralysis.
Poliomyelitis was first recognized as a distinct condition by Jakob Heine in 1840. Its causative agent, poliovirus, was identified in 1908 by Karl Landsteiner. Enhanced vaccination efforts led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary International could result in global eradication of the disease.

Cause

Poliomyelitis is caused by infection with a member of the genus Enterovirus known as poliovirus (PV). This group of RNA viruses prefers to inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. All three are extremely virulent and produce the same disease symptoms. In endemic areas, wild polioviruses can infect virtually the entire human population. It is seasonal in temperate climates, with peak transmission occurring in summer and autumn. Virus particles are excreted in the feces for several weeks following initial infection. a mode especially visible in areas with good sanitation and hygiene. malnutrition, tonsillectomy, physical activity immediately following the onset of paralysis, skeletal muscle injury due to injection of vaccines or therapeutic agents, and pregnancy. Although the virus can cross the placenta during pregnancy, the fetus does not appear to be affected by either maternal infection or polio vaccination. Maternal antibodies also cross the placenta, providing passive immunity that protects the infant from polio infection during the first few months of life.

Classification

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

African lethargy, Asiatic cholera, Chagres fever, German measles, Haverhill fever, acute articular rheumatism, ague, alkali disease, amebiasis, amebic dysentery, anthrax, apoplexy, bacillary dysentery, bastard measles, black death, black fever, blackwater fever, breakbone fever, brucellosis, bubonic plague, cachectic fever, catalepsy, cataplexy, cerebral rheumatism, chicken pox, cholera, cowpox, dandy fever, deer fly fever, dengue, dengue fever, diphtheria, diplegia, dumdum fever, dysentery, elephantiasis, encephalitis lethargica, enteric fever, erysipelas, famine fever, five-day fever, flu, frambesia, glandular fever, grippe, hansenosis, hemiplegia, hepatitis, herpes, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, histoplasmosis, hookworm, hydrophobia, infantile paralysis, infectious mononucleosis, inflammatory rheumatism, influenza, jail fever, jungle rot, kala azar, kissing disease, lepra, leprosy, leptospirosis, loa loa, loaiasis, lockjaw, madness, malaria, malarial fever, marsh fever, measles, meningitis, milzbrand, mumps, ornithosis, osteomyelitis, palsy, paralysis, paraplegia, paratyphoid fever, paresis, parotitis, parrot fever, pertussis, pneumonia, poliomyelitis, polyarthritis rheumatism, ponos, psittacosis, rabbit fever, rabies, rat-bite fever, relapsing fever, rheumatic fever, rickettsialpox, ringworm, rubella, rubeola, scarlatina, scarlet fever, schistosomiasis, sensory paralysis, septic sore throat, shingles, sleeping sickness, sleepy sickness, smallpox, snail fever, splenic fever, spotted fever, strep throat, stroke, swamp fever, tetanus, thrush, tinea, trench fever, trench mouth, tuberculosis, tularemia, typhoid, typhoid fever, typhus, typhus fever, undulant fever, vaccinia, varicella, variola, venereal disease, viral dysentery, whooping cough, yaws, yellow fever, yellow jack, zona, zoster
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