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Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases, it moves from the gut to affect the central nervous system and there is muscle weakness resulting in a flaccid paralysis.
- The harsh mathematics of polio makes it clear: We cannot maintain a level of one thousand or two thousand cases a year. Either we eradicate polio, or we return to the days of tens of thousands of cases per year. That is no alternative at all. We don't let children die because it is fatiguing to save them. Our commitment as a foundation is to work with partners until no children die from polio.
- The success of the Nigeria programme hinges on the active participation of everyone to make sure that all children are reached by National Immunization Days (NIDs), Immunization Plus Days (IPDs) and the routine immunization programme, if the country capitalizes on the commitments I've heard in the past two days, Nigeria can lead the way to a polio-free Africa.
- We are in the end game, I'm optimistic that we will be successful. I'm personally very committed.
- I'd like to start by telling you about my wife Melinda's Aunt Myra. We see her a few times a year. Aunt Myra worked for many years taking reservations for Delta Airlines. She lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina, and then she moved to Dallas, Melinda's hometown. She loves to see our kids. When we all get together, she'll sit down on the floor and play games with them. Aunt Myra also has polio. She's in braces, and she has been ever since she was a little girl. Our children only know what polio is because of their aunt. Otherwise, the disease would just be another historical fact they learn about in school. In fact, even though I was born just three years after one of the worst polio epidemics in American history, I didn't know anyone with polio when I was growing up. That's how far we've come.
- In the last 20 years, thanks to your hard work, polio has declined by 99 percent. In 1988, 350,000 people got polio. By 2008, the number was down to just a couple of thousand.
- Dr. Peter Salk vaguely remembers the day he was vaccinated against polio in 1953. His father, Dr. Jonas Salk, made history by creating the polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh and inoculated his family as soon as he felt it was safe and effective.
Cases of polio peaked in the early 1950s, but it arrived every summer disabling an average of more than 35,000 people each year for decades, sometimes causing paralysis and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public officials closed swimming pools, movie theaters, amusement parks and other pastimes that naturally came with summer vacation.
- Greg Myre, ”From Polio To The COVID Vaccine, Dr. Peter Salk Sees Great Progress”, All Things Considered, NPR, (December 26, 2020)
- Until polio is eradicated, the world does not have the appetite or the money to target another disease for extinction, Cochi says. Originally slated for completion in 2000, the polio eradication initiative has blasted through one deadline after another has frustrated donors have poured billions of dollars into reaching the ever-receding goal. No one wants a repeat performance.
- Leslie Roberts, quoting Steve Cochi in “Why measles deaths are surging — and coronavirus could make it worse”, Nature, (07 April 2020; clarification 09 April 2020), 580, pp.446-447
- It is courage based on confidence, not daring, and it is confidence based on experience.
- Jonas Salk on testing his vaccine against polio on himself, his wife, and his three sons (9 May 1955)
- There are three stages of truth. First is that it can't be true, and that's what they said. You couldn't immunize against polio with a killed-virus vaccine. Second phase: they say, "Well, if it's true, it's not very important. And the third stage is, 'Well, we've known it all along."
- Jonas Salk, Academy of Achievement interview in San Diego, California, (16 May 1991)
- When i was around six years old, I woke up one morning and couldn’t get out of bed. My legs wouldn’t move. I was paralyzed from the waist down. This was during the polio era, in the early 1950s. My mother came in because I wasn’t ready for school. I remember the alarm in her eyes. In those days, doctors made house calls, and he entered my room carrying his black physician’s bag, sat on the edge of the bed, stuck a thermometer under my tongue, and checked my pulse. There was little else he could do. The terror of polio haunted children and parents everywhere. It was common to see young people in leg braces or wheelchairs; those imprisoned in iron lungs we only heard about. I was lucky. It wasn’t polio; it was possibly a severe allergic reaction to a tetanus shot I had had a few days before, caused by the tetanus antitoxin, which is harvested from horse blood. Horses were so important to the production of antibodies that many of the great pharmaceutical companies began as horse farms. It might also have been a dangerous disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder sometimes associated with infections such as influenza, Zika, and dengue fever—but so far not Covid-19. After a day or two, I could move my legs, but the memory was searing.
- Lawrence Wright, The Plague Year: America in the Time of COVID (2021)