Post-Polio Syndrome

Polio -- once one of the most feared diseases in America -- has nearly been eliminated in the U.S. through widespread immunization with polio vaccine. However, the health impact of past polio epidemics is still being felt.

Many polio survivors are now experiencing new and disabling symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome, a neurological disorder related to their earlier illness. In New Jersey alone, there may be as many as 30,000 survivors at-risk of having PPS.

Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders, heightened sensitivity to anesthesia, cold and pain, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and a decline in the ability to carry out activities of daily living.

Physicians should be alert for possible cases of PPS among polio survivors. These patients may need to be referred to rehabilitation specialists. Once properly diagnosed, PPS patients can also take steps to manage their health and preserve their ability to function.

To obtain a wallet card alerting medical providers to the special needs of polio survivors, please contact Jean DiGiovacchino at 609-292-4043.

Last Reviewed: 12/20/2021