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Pathology And Epidemiology Of Anterior Poliomyelitis

1188 words - 5 pages

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 inability to multiply in the undifferentiated embryonic chick or mouse tissues in which so many other viruses have been cultivated.” (Sabin) Picornaviridae have no envelope and are are an exceptionally small, single stranded, positive sense RNA. Its replication takes place in the cytoplasm and it is also distinguished by its internal ribosomal entry site.
While polio is also referred to as infantile paralysis, it does not only affect children. It does not discriminate and the older one is when they contract it, the more likely paralysis becomes. Polio is spread person to person, mainly through the fecal to oral route. This particular route can occur when drinking water comes into contact with fecal matter and is not properly treated, improper or a lack of hand washing after coming into contact with feces, preparing food after such, or in the presence of fecal matter, or even disease vectors like the common house fly.
While 90% of the infected are actually asymptomatic, the other 10% have much to fear. The initial onset of polio will feel like a cold or simple fatigue. At this point the polio virus has attached to a plasma membrane protein which allows said genome to be released into the cells cytoplasm. Then it is replicating in the lymphoid and epithelial tissues of the upper GI tract. While the incubation period is generally only 7-14 days, it can be anywhere from 4-35 days. 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...

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