Post-polio Syndrome


Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors. About 20%-40% of people who recover from polio will later develop PPS. The onset may occur 10-40 years after the initial polio attack.


The exact cause is unknown. It is not due to the original polio virus itself. Instead, the syndrome is due to nerve and muscle damage that may have been caused by the original infection.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of developing PPS include:


Symptoms may include:
If the symptoms during the first attack of polio were severe, the symptoms of PPS may also be severe.


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A neuromuscular exam may also be done. PPS may be hard to diagnose because symptoms come and go. The symptoms may also overlap with other diseases.
Testing often involves electromyography. This measures how well your nerves and muscles are communicating.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with an MRI scan.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:


Treatment focuses on managing symptoms. The goals are to:
Treatment may include:


There are no guidelines for preventing PPS. But polio survivors who keep physically fit may have a reduced risk of PPS.


March of Dimes

Post-Polio Health International


Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Health Canada


Dalakas M. IVIg in other autoimmune neurological disorders: current status and future prospects. Journal of Neurology. 2008;255(Suppl 3):12-16.

Howard R. Poliomyelitis and the postpolio syndrome. BMJ. 2005;330(7503):1314-1318.

Post-polio syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.

What is post-polio syndrome? Post-Polio Health International website. Available at: Accessed September 5, 2014.

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