Health A-Z

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People with minor illness and nonparalytic forms of polio recover completely, and most people with major illness who were paralyzed also recover completely. Fewer than 25% of people with polio are disabled for life.

Even though you can recover completely from polio symptoms, polio leaves behind some damage. As you age, your nervous system may become less able to compensate for the damage that polio caused, so symptoms may gradually reappear. This can happen 15 or 30 years after the polio infection was active. Recurring symptoms from polio are called post-polio syndrome.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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