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Poliomyelitis, Paralytic
1997 Case Definition

Clinical Description

Acute onset of a flaccid paralysis of one or more limbs with decreased or absent tendon reflexes in the affected limbs, without other apparent cause, and without sensory or cognitive loss.

Case Classification


A case that meets the clinical case definition


A case that meets the clinical case definition and in which the patient has a neurologic deficit 60 days after onset of initial symptoms, has died, or has unknown follow-up status


All suspected cases of paralytic poliomyelitis are reviewed by a panel of expert consultants before final classification occurs. Confirmed cases are then further classified based on epidemiologic and laboratory criteria.1 Only confirmed cases are included in Table I in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Suspected cases are enumerated in a footnote to the MMWR table.


  1. Sutter RW, Brink EW, Cochi SL, et al. A new epidemiologic and laboratory classification system for paralytic poliomyelitis cases. Am J Public Health 1989;79:495-8.