Skip to main content

The End of Polio


A medical student today will go through their entire career without ever seeing a case of polio. The polio virus was feared throughout the early 20th century, leaving millions paralyzed or dead. During Summer and Autumn, polio epidemics spread human to human with this highly contagious disease. In the 1940's and 50's, negative pressure ventilators called the "iron lung" were used to support patients with paralyzed respiratory muscles. In 1952 the worst polio epidemic struck the United States, with 58,000 cases and 3,145 deaths. Over 21 thousand victims were left paralyzed.

By 1964, the oral polio vaccine, developed by Albert Sabin, had become the recommended vaccine. It was easy to administer and large populations could be vaccinated.

The effort to eradicate polio was launched in 1988 and involved the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the CDC and UNICEF. Through everyone pulling together, more than 210 polio endemic countries were targeted for childhood vaccination. Today only 4 countries - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan have polio. Fewer than 2000 children were paralyzed by the disease in 2006.

If the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is able to stick to its strategic plan, polio will be completely eradicated from the human population. This shows that political will and governments and industry working together can achieve wonderful things for mankind. This initiative had corporate support, pharmaceutical support, non governmental organizations (NGOs), the Gates Foundation and many small countries involved with donating funds to stop polio. Ireland, Bangladesh, Russia, Norway Canada, Germany, the U.K. ,India and the United States were all heavy contributors.

This success story shows that political will, oversight and responsibility are the ingredients for saving our planet. Let the End of Polio show us that we can work together successfully for a common good.

Comments

Good post Toni -very sobering photo.
Anonymous said…
I saw thepix and it made me gasp--I was in a place like this when I was 4. Remember little except the little raggy covers they patchworked over me in the iron lung never covered my feet. I wanted them to.
Anonymous said…
Vaccines are snakeoil and do not prevent disease. They cause it. Polio stopped when the vector was removed and the vector was contaminated food, fruit vegetables and milk deoending on where you lived. The only cases of polio anywhere in the world today are caused by the vaccine. Don't be fooled by snake oil salesmen.
Lucy said…
juicy couture diaper bags

My cousin was a polio victim when he was 3 years old. That makes him paralyzed from legs down to his foot. And I'm so proud of him to stand stronger despite the tragic experience he gone through. Now he is a certified civil engineer, getting his way here in our province. He is a perfect example of someone handicapped but still fought for his chosen career, that everything is possible if you have faith.
viagra online said…
Interesting post. I am a medical student too and polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. Polio epidemics have crippled thousands of people, mostly young children; the disease has caused paralysis and death for much of human history. 23jj
Really effective data, thanks so much for this article.

Popular posts from this blog

scintillating scotoma

Nothing like experiencing a medical condition first-hand to really help a doctor understand it from the patient's point of view.  After all these years, I had my first (and hopefully last) scintillating scotoma while sitting on the couch playing "words with friends" on my ipad and watching TV.  A scotoma is a partial loss of vision in a normal visual field.  Scintillate is flashing, sparkles.  Put them together and you have moving, flashing sparkles with a blind spot in your eyes.

This visual aura was first described in the 19th century  by a Dr. Hubert Airy who had migraine headaches.  The visual sparks and flashes are in a zig-zag pattern and they can precede a migraine headache or occur without any pain.   The scotoma affects both eyes and closing one or the other does not make it go away.  Sometimes the term "ocular migraine" or "retinal migraine"  are used to describe this phenomenon but these involve only one eye, not both.  The terms are often …

Do Doctors Make Too Much Money?

An article in theNew York Times says the reason health care costs are so high in the United States is because doctors are paid too much. I saw that and my eyes bugged out. I just came home from a meeting with physicians and hospital administrators and the entire meeting was spent discussing the financial challenges physicians face in keeping their doors open to see patients. The goal of this meeting was to keep health services in that community so patients will have someone to care for them. Not a person in the room would agree that the doctors earn too much.

Physicians paid too much? Lets break that down. A doctor spends a minimum of 11 years in education and training after the age of 18. Many are in training for 15 or more years. They are living on student loans and contributing zero to their family's income until the residency years. At that time they earn less than minimum wage if you factor in the 80-100 hour workweek. When a doctor emerges from training (and believe me…