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Disease Profile

Post Polio syndrome

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Post-poliomyelitic syndrome; Postpoliomyelitis syndrome; Post-polio muscular atrophy;


Nervous System Diseases


Post polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after recovery from the initial polio illness.[1] Symptoms and severity vary among affected people and may include muscle weakness and a gradual decrease in the size of muscles (atrophy); muscle and joint pain; fatigue; difficulty with gait; respiratory problems; and/or swallowing problems.[1][2] Only a polio survivor can develop PPS. While polio is a contagious disease, PPS is not.[1] The exact cause of PPS years after the first episode of polio is unclear, although several theories have been proposed.[3][2] Treatment focuses on reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.[1]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • MayoClinic.com has an information page on Post Polio syndrome.
    • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
    • The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
    • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Post Polio syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Post-Polio Syndrome Fact Sheet. NINDS. April 16, 2014; https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/post_polio/detail_post_polio.htm. Accessed 11/5/2014.
        2. Divakara Kedlaya. Postpolio Syndrome. Medscape Reference. November 25, 2013; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/306920-overview. Accessed 11/5/2014.
        3. Post-polio Syndrome. Mayo Clinic. June 11, 2014; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-polio-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20021725. Accessed 11/5/2014.