It is rare for physicians in the United States to see the effects of polio and most will never encounter it in their career. There are reported to be about 450,000 polio survivors in the U.S. who have some disability from prior polio infection.
My patient (now in her 70's) was kind enough to allow these photos of her left arm paralysis from polio she contracted at age 9. Her story is amazing. She was kept bedridden in a "crippled childrens home" in New Jersey for over a year. During that year every one of her children roommates died. She did not attend school and even though she could walk, she was kept in bed. Her weight ballooned up to 250 lbs from eating and lack of activity. Her parents finally took her home because they could see her health declining and her muscles wasting.
Post polio syndrome is a well recognized diagnosis that occurs years after polio recovery. Polio survivors experience new muscle weakening and atrophy. General fatigue and weakness is common in post polio syndrome, as it is in my patient.
When parents are afraid of vaccinating their children, they should look back at history and realize how far we have come from epidemics and killed and maimed.