Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Polio was never a big killer, but the evil of this disease was its ability to disappear and reappear every summer and autumn. It predominately affected children, hence the name "infantile paralysis," and although seldom fatal, the condition often caused paralysis and disability.

Pub Med

Met a patient with a previous history of polio infection when he was still in his childhood. You can hardly see polio patients nowadays in Malaysia due to the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health in eradicating this notorious disease that was once an epidemic throughout the world.

Poliovirus (an enterovirus), once invades your body, It multiples in your throat and intestinal tract and then travels to your central nervous system through blood and lymph. As It multiplies, the virus destroys the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord (that Is why It is regarded as a lower motor neuron disease). The muscles of the lower limb are affected more often than the upper limb. The limb becomes floppy and lifeless. In the most severe cases (bulbar polio), poliovirus attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, patient might suffer from breathing difficulty, dysarthria (difficulty speaking) and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

Apparent muscle wasting was observed on the left leg due to the lesion on the lower motor neuron supplying that region. Due to the unopposed muscle action during childhood development, the structure of the foot is compromised.

This is a normal wound infection. He was given antibiotics and was sent home.
This is total coolness I would say. How hardly can you see patients with post polio infection walking around like this ( except for Dr Robert ). At that moment, I truly appreciate the miraculous advancement of medicine in providing us with potent vaccines that shielded us from this ill-famed disease.
For more interesting stories about Polio, BMJ has lots to offer.