Before the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines, polio was a serious infection that affected the central nervous system; however with proper vaccinations it can be eradicated in the United States today. There are different kinds of polio. They include spinal polio, non-paralytic form, and paralytic polio.
Spinal polio is the most common form that occurs when polio viruses attack nerve cells and control the muscles of the legs, arms, trunk, diaphragm, abdomen, and pelvis. Stiffness in the neck and back also may develop. (World Book Encyclopedia)
Non-paralytic form of polio has many symptoms. It is accompanied by nausea, headache, sore throat, back pain, neck pain, and stiffness. There are changes in reflex and elevated spinal fluid count. About sixty-five percent of known cases during the outbreak of polio were non-paralytic. Paralytic polio only has a few minor symptoms, but it has weakness in one or more muscle groups. (Polio Fact Sheet)
There are three viruses that can cause polio, type I, II, III. They grow in living cells and get in the body through the nose and mouth, and then it is carried to the intestines.
Poliomyelitis has several symptoms. Some of the most severe are paralysis, fever, stiff neck, nausea, and weakness in the muscle groups. (Diseases, 106) Post-Polio Syndrome is also a symptom and a late side effect of polio. Survivors of the Post-Polio Syndrome experience joint pain, muscular atrophy, fewer nerves, and they become weaker at a faster rate. (Dempsey, 2)
Polio vaccines give life long immunity by two ways, by immunization and natural infection with the virus. (Polio Vaccines) There are two vaccines: the oral polio vaccine and the inactivated polio vaccine. The oral polio vaccine was invented by Albert Sabin in 1961. (Polio Vaccines) It is a weakened, live virus, which can be taken orally. This vaccine produces antibodies in the blood to fight the virus. (Polio Vaccines)
The inactivated, or killed polio virus was invented by James Salk in 1955. It has to be injected by a trained worker. (Polio Vaccines) This was the first developed vaccine.
The iron lung was used to treat polio patients. It was invented in the mid-1900s by Philip Drinker as a way of dealing with the respiratory problems of polio patients. This was used as an artificial respirator. The patients body was put in the metal tank while it used air pressure changes to expand and contract the chest walls. Now, instead of the iron lung, a tracheotomy tube is connected to a ventilator the size of an overnight suitcase. (The Gale Encyclopedia of Science)
Today physical therapy and exercise are used to help with the pain that survivors have. Some people may have gained recovery by building up strength by exercise and intense athletic training. (Polio Fact Sheet)
Before the world eradication about 600,000 cases were reported each year. (Polio Fact Sheet) With a ten year effort the cost of eradication may be about a billion dollars.
The United States could save about one hundred and five million dollars a year if there were not any vaccinations for this disease. (Polio Fact Sheet) In the United States there are 1.6 million polio survivors. (Polio Fact Sheet) There have been mass vaccination campaigns in which more than 100 million Americans received the Sabin vaccine to conquer polio. (Locke, 133) In 1969, there were only nineteen cases of paralytic polio in the United States, since 1894 when the disease was first recognized. (Conquest of Polio, 6) In 1994, Americans were polio-free. (The Beginning of the End) This disease can be prevented if there is proper sanitation and good hygiene.
The Beginning of the End . . . Status 1998. 1998: 2 pages. On-line. Internet. 10 March 1999. Available WWW: http: //www.whq-sabin.who.int: 8082/regions.htm
Bunch, Bryan. Diseases. Volume 6. United States: Grolier Education, 1996.
Conquest of Polio. Time. 14 July 1970: 46.
Dempsey, Tom. Polio Survivors Page: Polio and the Era of Fear. 18 Dec. 1997: 2 pages. On-line. Internet. 10 March 1999. Available WWW.http://www.eskimo.com/dempt/pera.htm
Locke, David. Virus Diseases: A Laymans Handbook. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1978.
Poliomyelitis Fact Sheet. 3 pages. On-line. Internet. 12 March 1999. Available WWW: http://www.community-care.oco.uk/docs/ppsool4.txt
Poliomyelitis. The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Volume 5. 1996 ed.
Polio Vaccines. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative. 3 pages. On-line. Internet. 10 March 1999. Available WWW: http//www.whqsabin.who.int: 8083/vaccines.htm