Journal of
Infectious Diseases and Immunity

  • Abbreviation: J. Infect. Dis. Immun.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2375
  • DOI: 10.5897/JIDI
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 87


Postpolio syndrome: Epidemiology, pathogenesis and management

Abdulraheem I. S.1*, Saka M. J.1 and Saka A. O.2
1Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. 2Department of  Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 December 2011
  •  Published: 31 December 2011


Post polio syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system that appears in many survivors of paralytic polio, usually 15 years or more after the original illness. Currently, there are more than 2 million people world wide who have been afflicted with polio as children or young adults and who now may exhibit symptoms of the post-polio syndrome. The purpose of this review is to provide the current information on the syndrome’s causes and promote information exchange on the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of PPS. Post-polio syndrome is characterized by increased weakness and/or abnormal muscle fatigability, general fatigue and pain, after a period of stability in individuals who had paralytic polio many years earlier. It is suspected to be the second degeneration of the enlarged motor units formed during recovery, and another denervation of muscle fibers. The cause of this denervation is unknown, but an inflammatory process could be responsible. Diagnosis is based on the presence of a lower motor neuron disorder that is supported by neurophysiological findings, in the absence of other disorders as causes of the new symptoms. Management of patients with postpolio syndrome should be multiprofessional and multidisciplinary in approach.  Individuals with postpolio syndrome should be counseled on avoidance of inactivity and overuse of weak muscles. Proper evaluation of the patients for the need of orthoses and assistive devices is mandatory. This review paper also recommends creation of State centers with comprehensive expertise in the management of all aspects of PPS. The center should also offer teaching and research services.


Key words: Post-polio syndrome, epidemiology, pathogenesis, management.