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Health Issues

Post-Polio Syndrome

Overview and Facts

Post-Polio Syndrome or PPS, is a condition that affects polio survivors sometimes many years after having polio. Other common names for the disease are:

  • Polio, Late Effects
  • Post-Polio Sequelae
  • Postpoliomyelitis syndrome
  • Post-Polio Muscular Atrophy
  • We will be using the term Post-Polio Syndrome or PPS in this discussion.

What is Polio?

Polio (or poliomyelitis) is a disease that is rarely in today’s news but was a major threat until the polio vaccine was first introduced in 1955. That vaccine has eradicated polio from the United States. However, the people that had polio are still at risk and often suffering from Post-Polio Syndrome or PPS.

Between the late 1940s and early 1950s, polio was one of the most feared diseases of the twentieth century. Polio crippled around 35,000 people each year in the United States alone. The disease was still present in other counties for many years, but even then was decreased by more than 99 percent since 1988. There were just over 1,300 cases reported in 2010.

Post-Polio Syndrome can only develop in polio survivors and cannot be spread to another person, but considering the amount of people affected in the 1940s and 1950s, that can still be real threat to a large group of people. Researchers estimate that PPS affects 25 to 40 percent of polio survivors. Studies show that there are currently about 1 million polio survivors in the U.S., so the potential for PPS is large.