By Daniel J. Wilson
A compelling account of the main feared adolescence ailment of the twentieth century and its impression on sufferers and clinical science.
• A chronology of key occasions within the clinical, scientific, and social heritage of polio
• infrequently visible images from the documents of the March of Dimes, offering a visible historical past of remedies for the disease
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Additional info for Polio (Biographies of Disease)
There were salaried officials at both the national and local levels, but there were also many volunteers, especially in the fundraising arm of the organization. The salaried staff addressed the needs of local polio patients and disbursed monies to families, hospitals, and other institutions to pay for polio care. Most of the volunteers participated for a brief time every year in the annual March of Dimes campaign to raise funds to support the work of the NFIP.
During a small polio epidemic in Connecticut that year, the Yale physicians took stool samples from twenty-two patients. Three of nine throat samples were positive, as were three of thirteen stool samples. In the case of one young boy who had a minor illness but whose brother had paralytic polio, the doctors were able to isolate the poliovirus from the boy’s stool twenty-four days after his sickness. The scientists discovered that it was easier to detect the poliovirus in stool samples than in throat washings.
Ultimately, the laboratories tested 196 different samples and found only three strains, one more than Burnet and Macnamara had found in 1931. 7 percent were Type III. While the work was done in the individual laboratories, the coordination and funding provided by the NFIP was also crucial to the success of the typing program (Paul, 1971, pp. 232–235). THE FIRST, AND UNSUCCESSFUL, POLIO VACCINES Very early in the modern history of poliomyelitis doctors realized that a single attack of polio could confer immunity to the individual.