Poliomyelitis By lily connley and elle carpenter

Poliomyelitis, or Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus is contagious and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Kid getting a vaccine for Polio.


This is a very rare disease. Although It wasn't always so uncommon. In the 1950's there was a great fear of this horrible disease which handicapped thousands of active/healthy children. Back then, it had no cure and no identified causes. The old tactics used to prevent the disease scubas quarantining areas didn't seem to work.

Poliomyelitis was the term used by doctors to describe the condition in which the gray anterior matter of the spinal chord was inflamed.Until a cure was discovered, no one had the slightest idea where "polio" had come from or why it paralyzed so many children. People learned later that, oddly enough, it was the improved sanitary conditions which caused children to be attacked by the virus. Contact with open sewers and other unsanitary conditions had exposed them to small amounts of the polio virus as infants. The disease grew from a very mild, uncommon occurrence to a terrifying epidemic.

The Iron Lung Macchine


In 1952 alone, nearly 60,000 children were infected with the virus; thousands were paralyzed, and more than 3,000 died. Hospitals set up special units with iron lung machines to keep polio victims alive. Rich kids as well as poor were left paralyzed. Then in 1955, the U.S. began widespread vaccinations. By 1979, the virus had been completely eliminated across the country.

Because there is no cure for Polio, the main focus is on preventing complications and speeding up recovery. Supportive treatments include: bed rest, pain relievers, portable ventilators, moderate exercise, and a healthy diet.


Karl Landsteiner and Erwin Popper discovered poliovirus in 1908 by proving that it was not a bacterium that caused the paralysis, but a much smaller entity—a virus.


Dr. Jonas Salk

Polio attacks the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, which can cause paralysis or even death. After being appointed head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh in 1947, Dr. Jonas Salk devoted himself to finding a way to curb the devastating virus. Less than five years later, he invented a vaccine and decided to test it out.

A nationwide testing of the vaccine was launched in April 1954 after working successfully o a sample group. The impact was dramatic: in 1955 there were 28,985 cases of polio in the U.S. and by 1957 that number had decreased to 5,894.

Salk wanted the vaccine to be distributed evenly to everyone. So he never patented the vaccine. Salk gained popularity throughout the 1960's. Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine is now returning to favor because of its lowered risk factor. Today, in the U.S., cases of polio are extremely rare and The World Health Organization hopes the disease will be eradicated worldwide in the near future.


Often times, people who have been infected with Polio will get flu like symptoms such as: sore throat, fever, nausea, tiredness, headache, and stomach pain.


Polio is an infectious disease and its victims tend to be the most vulnerable of the human population. Anyone who hasn't had the vaccine, are susceptible to contracting the infection. When traveling to places where Polio is a wide spread, like Afghanistan and Pakistan, you take the risk of developing the virus. Some additional risk factors are: having a weak immune system, living with somebody that's infected, working in a poliovirus laboratory, and being pregnant (does not affect unborn child).


The polio vaccine is sure to live on in the annals of medical discovery as one of the greatest achievements of medical research. The dedication of Dr. Salk and his contemporaries is highly respected because they won the battle against polio and it is believed that their accomplishments should remind all of the great enabling power that education and knowledge provides to individuals and to the world.


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Beaubien, Jason. "Wiping Out Polio: How The U.S. Snuffed Out A Killer." NPR. NPR, 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2017

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"Inventions That Changed the World: The Polio Vaccine |." Image. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

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