Poliomyelitis - Definition

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Poliomyelitis, often called polio, is a very contagious disease, caused by a virus called the "poliovirus", which attacks the nervous system potentially causing total paralysis. Known as infantile poliomyelitis, it is the most common form and particularly affects children under 5. In adults, a similar disease exists called spinal polio. Poliomyelitis destroys the nerve cells that enable different muscles of the body to contract, these are called motor neurons and are located in the spinal cord. This condition can lead to slight or total paralysis. There is no real treatment, but a very effective vaccine is obligatory for all in France, in a combined vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus.