Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Late onset polio sequelae: disabilities and handicaps in a population-based cohort of the 1956 poliomyelitis outbreak in The Netherlands.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of new neuromuscular symptoms, disabilities, and handicaps in a group of polio survivors.

DESIGN: A self-constructed health questionnaire about neuromuscular complaints and disability and handicap levels during the stable period after recovery from polio and at present.

SUBJECTS: Three hundred fifty subjects, derived from the 1,784 polio cases registered during the 1956 polio outbreak in The Netherlands.

RESULTS: Respondents totaled 260 (74%), 27 of whom denied or did not recall having had paralytic poliomyelitis. The remaining 233 subjects comprised the study group (mean age, 44yrs; range, 39 to 77; SD = 6.3). Frequency of all neuromuscular complaints at present time was significantly higher than that during the stable period after polio (range in p of .001 to .004). Fifty-eight percent of cases reported an increase in muscle weakness in comparison with muscle condition during the stable period. Fifty-six percent reported an increase in disabilities, mainly a restriction in gait functions. Fifty-three percent reported increased handicaps with regard to occupation and social integration, and there was an increased need for adaptive measures and devices.

CONCLUSION: Nearly 60% of a sample of Dutch survivors of the 1956 polio outbreak experience late onset polio sequelae, resulting in increased severity of disabilities and handicaps.

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