Anterior Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease that attacks the anterior horn of the spinal cord. Poliomyelitis translates to grey spinal matter inflammation. Polio is caused by a picorna virus that enters the body through mucus membranes and then multiplies in the throat and being an acidophile, can survive well in the stomach and small intestine. When viremia occurs and persists, the virus will penetrate the capillary wall. Once this happens, it enters the central nervous system and begins attacking motor neurons. Polio is tissue specific and will only multiply and attack neurons. “this strict neuronotropism and definite tissue specificity of poliomyelitis virus is reflected not only in its limited adult host range but aso in its…show more content… This is when viremia will occur and the virus will begin to spread. If it does not reach the central nervous system then the patient will only have abortive poliomyelitis. They will have some flu like symptoms and experience a full recovery. As the virus goes further, one may become stricken with aseptic meningitis. This polio is considered non-paralytic, has the same symptoms as abortive poliomyelitis, and irritates the meninges. This causes back and neck pain and stiffness but has a full recovery. The worst case scenario is paralytic poliomyelitis. This occurs when the virus begins replicating in the brain stem and anterior horn causing cell destruction and neurological damage in the form of paralysis. This is very rare and occurs in less than 2% of infections. While paralysis of the legs is most common, it can affect the arms, or worse, spread to the trunk. When the legs are affected, the patient is fitted with braces to help with recovery (Figure 1) If it continues and reaches bulbar polio, the brain stem becomes paralyzed and generally the patient will die from asphyxiation. (Flynn) Almost 15 years later the iron lung was invented to help people at this stage survive, but currently, there was nothing they could do.
One of the worst polio epidemics to hit the United States was in 1916 in the heart of New York City. It infected 9,000 just in the city and kept spreading throughout the states to infect over 27,000. It left