Polio is a viral infection of humans that occasionally spreads to the central nervous system. Once this happens, permanent muscle paralysis development often occurs. These cases only occur when the polio virus attacks and destroys the spinal cord and brain tissue that controls muscle activity. It's transmitted through oral ingestion of virus present in the stool of infected individuals and saliva. Most people do not have symp-toms when they are infected with polio. Only about 5% form a small, flu-like syndrome termed "abortive poliomyelitis," that is characterized by fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diminished appetite, and a general sick feeling. These symptoms only last for three days. Another 1% of patients presents viral meningitis that is termed "nonparalytic poliomyelitis." The symptoms of polio virus meningitis are re-lated to abortive poliomyelitis, but also include a stiff, sore neck, but the headache, nau-sea, and vomiting are more severe in polio virus meningitis than in abortive poliomyeli-tis. People with polio virus display the paralysis that we normally relate with polio. Po-lio may also cause breathing problems with the paralysis of the breathing muscles, swal-lowing difficulty with aspiration, or damage to the brain's "respiratory center". Death may occur in severe cases unless mechanical ventilation is used. Most of the people who were afflicted with polio experience incomplete recovery of the brain function.
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