polio

noun

po·​lio ˈpō-lē-ˌō How to pronounce polio (audio)
: an infectious disease especially of young children that is caused by the poliovirus

Note: Individuals infected with the poliovirus are often asymptomatic. In approximately 25% of cases, polio presents as a mild to moderate illness marked by headache, fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Polio affects the central nervous system only infrequently with inflammation and sometimes destruction of the motor neurons in the gray matter of the spinal cord and brain stem. Central nervous system involvement results in temporary or permanent muscle weakness or motor paralysis especially of the limbs and typically the legs. Polio may become life-threatening when paralysis affects the muscles involved in breathing and swallowing.

And the dreaded disease polio was virtually eliminated in 1955 when the Salk vaccine was approved for public use.Mary Beth Norton et al.
The longstanding quest to eradicate polio is attracting a new injection of funds from donors around the world, as health leaders grapple with obstacles from ridding conflict areas of the virus to a shortage of vaccine.Betsy McKay

called also infantile paralysis, poliomyelitis

see post-polio syndrome
polio-like adjective
or poliolike
a polio-like disease
polio-like paralysis

Examples of polio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Something momentous happened in the history of polio eradication in April 2016: Over a period of 2 weeks, 155 countries and territories started to use a new version of Albert Sabin’s classic oral polio vaccine (OPV) that no longer protected against one of the three types of poliovirus. Byleslie Roberts, science.org, 7 May 2024 But Baig has declared that the days of extremists driving out polio workers are over. Jeffrey Kluger, TIME, 2 May 2024 In 1966 primatologist Jane Goodall famously witnessed a deadly polio epidemic among chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, after an outbreak in a human encampment nearby. Harriet Marsden, The Week Uk, theweek, 5 Mar. 2024 For less wealthy countries, the WHO is a lifeline, providing crucial technical assistance and helping eliminate diseases such as polio. Ashish Jha, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2021 See all Example Sentences for polio 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polio.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

short for poliomyelitis

First Known Use

1911, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polio was in 1911

Dictionary Entries Near polio

Cite this Entry

“Polio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polio. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

polio

noun
po·​lio ˈpō-lē-ˌō How to pronounce polio (audio)

Medical Definition

polio

noun
po·​lio ˈpō-lē-ˌō How to pronounce polio (audio)
: an infectious disease especially of young children that is caused by the poliovirus

Note: Individuals infected with the poliovirus are often asymptomatic. In approximately 25% of cases, polio presents as a mild to moderate illness marked by headache, fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Polio affects the central nervous system only infrequently with inflammation and sometimes destruction of the motor neurons in the gray matter of the spinal cord and brain stem. Central nervous system involvement results in temporary or permanent muscle weakness or flaccid paralysis of muscles especially of the limbs and typically the legs. Polio may become life-threatening when paralysis affects the muscles involved in breathing and swallowing.

Thanks to the Salk and Sabin vaccines, the specter of crippling polio that once made summers an apprehensive time for Americans has long since passed.People Weekly
While the last case of naturally occurring polio in the United States was in 1979, the disease remains prevalent in other areas of the world.Evan Johnson, The Addison County (Vermont) Independent

called also infantile paralysis, poliomyelitis

see post-polio syndrome

More from Merriam-Webster on polio

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!