In order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask the patient a number of questions and perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of the disease.
If the doctor suspects polio, he or she will order certain tests that help to diagnose the disease. These tests will look for the virus or antibodies the body has made against the virus. In order to perform these tests, a stool sample or a throat swab may be taken.
Several other medical conditions can share the signs or symptoms of polio. The doctor will consider these conditions before making a diagnosis. Some of these conditions include:
(Click Diagnosing Polio for more information about making a diagnosis.)
There is currently no treatment that can kill the virus. Polio is caused by a virus; therefore, antibiotics or other medications are not effective. Instead, treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This is called supportive care.
(Click Polio Treatment for more information on this topic.)
While there is no cure for polio, most people recover without any long-term problems. Less than 1 percent of infected people will develop permanent paralysis. There is no treatment that can prevent this complication.