Post-polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that can affect polio survivors decades after they recover from their initial poliovirus infection. It is characterized by a set of health problems, such as muscle weakness, fatigue (mental and physical), and pain from joint deterioration, that begins about 15 to 40 years after the initial poliovirus infection. PPS affects between 25 and 40 out of every 100 polio survivors.

Some people with PPS have only minor symptoms, while others develop more visible muscle weakness and atrophy (a decrease in muscle size). PPS is rarely life-threatening, but the symptoms can make it difficult for an affected person to function independently.

Unlike poliovirus, PPS is not contagious. Only a polio survivor can develop PPS.

For personal stories from polio survivors with PPS, see

Page last reviewed: November 28, 2017