In recent years an unusual syndrome of poliomyelitis-like illness, associated with acute bronchial asthma, has been reported from different parts of the world. A further 3 cases are described in this paper. Although the condition resembles poliomyelitis in most respects, particularly with regard to the severe permanent residual weakness usually observed, consistent evidence of a viral aetiology has not been forthcoming. Tests of immune function suggested the presence of varying degrees of nonspecific immune deficiency in our 3 patients, but evidence of viral invasion was inconclusive. It is suggested that a combination of immune deficiency with the stress of the acute asthma attack rendered the patients susceptible to invasion of the anterior horn cells by a viral agent, which may have been of external origin, or may have existed in a latent form within the host.
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