Polio (poliomyelitis) is a viral illness that damages nerves that control muscles, resulting in muscle weakness. In severe illnesses, a person can lose the ability to move both arms and legs (paralysis) and may be unable to breathe without help.

Symptoms of polio include:

  • Headache.
  • Sudden fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Neck and back stiffness.
  • Muscle weakness and pain.

Polio is now rare in developed countries, because most children receive immunization against the virus.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology