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Lesson 31. Poliomyelitis


a. Definition. Poliomyelitis is an acute, highly infectious viral disease characterized by fever, paralysis, and muscle atrophy. Infection is transmitted through oral and nasal secretions or through the oral-fecal route. The incidence of polio has been greatly reduced with childhood immunization using the Sabin and Salk polio vaccines.

b. Signs and Symptoms.

(1) Headache. Vomiting. Fever.
(2) Lethargy. Anorexia.
(3) Muscle pain, stiffness.
(4) Loss of deep tendon reflexes.
(5) Muscle weakness.
(6) Paralysis.

c. Medical and Nursing Management.

(1) Monitor patient's level of consciousness.
(2) Utilize supportive nursing measures.
(3) Consult infection control for recommendations regarding enteric
(4) Involve physical therapy for a formal evaluation and instruction.
(5) Determine the degree to which patient and family can participate in care.
(6) Continually observe family interactions to determine long-term effect of polio on family resources and dynamics.
(7) Seek assistance from Community Health Nurse for discharge planning and community assistance.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015