Poliomyelitis Case Study

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Case Study Question: Poliomyelitis
Jared Becker
Housatonic Community College

This case study will discuss the physiological, anatomical and viral etiology of poliomyelitis and the clinical manifestations of the disease. In addition, a historical account of the development of the polio vaccine from 1916 until 1955 will be detailed. The roles of scientists who contributed to the vaccine, the impact of President Franklin D. Roosevelt had, and the significance of the March of Dimes will be discussed.

Etiology and pathophysiology:
Poliomyelitis or more commonly known as polio, is an enterovirus belonging to the family Picornavirdae. The words polio (grey) and myelon (marrow, indicating the spinal
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Type 1 polio or sub-clinical does not affect the nervous system. Symptoms include headache, sore throat, mild fever, vomiting, genaralized aches and discomfort similar to the flu. This form makes up approximately 95% of all polio infections. It is the most mild form of the disease and a patient usually recovers in 72 hours. Type 2 polio or non-paralytic polio is more severe and also includes fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting and fatigue, but also involves abnormal reflexes, difficulty swallowing/breathing, back and neck pain with stiffness, arm and leg pain or stiffness, and muscle tenderness and spasms. These more severe symptoms are caused by inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Type 2 symptoms also tend to subside within in a few days and usually do not cause and permanent damage. Type 3 polio, also known as paralytic polio is the most severe. (melanie miller) Paralytic polio is classified into 3 types, depending on the level of involvement. Spinal polio is the most common and and results in asymmetric paralysis that frequently involves the legs. Bulbar polio causes weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal is by far the worst type of polio and involves bulbar and spinal paralysis. Up to 75% of these cases with bulbar involvement are fatal. (cdc.gov/vaccines

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