Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Recalling polio

I came across these old newspaper articles about past polio outbreaks in Mississippi.  They were published in the 1930's.  They give a better idea of what Mississippians faced before vaccines were available.


Anonymous said...

Polio was devastating. We did not know of viruses and were not sure where it was coming from. Many thought the water so the swimming pools were closed. No one had birthday parties during outbreaks. Throughout the 1940's it would be running in different towns and the fear was very real. People I knew were sent to Mercy Hospital in Vicksburg where they cared for polio patients. Most died. I believe it was 1954 that I was one of the first in my group to get the live Salk vaccine. Many were afraid of it. It was not until the mid-sixties that Sabin's drops became available. We went to McWillie School on three Sundays to receive the drops on our tongue three different Sundays. There was a huge campaign in Jackson (and probably everywhere) called SOS, which stood for Sabin Oral Sundays. Being relieved of the fear of polio with my children was a wonderful freedom for parents and children alike. Next came chicken pox freedom and then measles. Typhoid freedom preceded polio. We can only imagin what it was like 150 years ago but today so many of these dreaded childhood diseases are gone from our care. Not only children died with polio, I seem to remember a young doctor also dying. Remembering these times give me gratitude for our scientist who have improved the world.

Fred said...

Read this interesting bit the other day:

Polio seemed to come out of nowhere in the late 19th century. But it was really the result of IMPROVED hygiene! The polio virus has always been around but in earlier times babies were routinely exposed, as infants, to contaminated water but were so young that they still had their mother's immunity protecting them. With improved water sanitation in the late 19th century babies no longer had early exposure and when later confronted with the virus they were unprotected and subject to infection. The law of unintended consequences at work.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible disease. My 10 year old brother contracted it in Birmingham while on a family trip. We lived in south Mississippi, 120 miles from Vicksburg. He was admitted to the hospital in Vicksburg and remained in an iron lung for a year while the we other three kids returned home to live. We didn't have enough $ to hire help so my parents could only visit twice a month for a day. He wasn't crippled but did suffer from limb weakness and an inability to breathe normally for the rest of his life. He was definitely mentally scarred from his sense of abandonment of his family but there was nothing we could do.

Anonymous said...

"Not only children died with polio, I seem to remember a young doctor also dying. "

I'm pretty sure Dr. Guyton, the most famous physician Mississippi ever produced, was stricken with polio while a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and had to give up his planned career in surgery. He turned to physiology research instead and wrote the most widely used medical school textbook in history.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Rotary International, a Worldwide Service Organization, which has taken on the eradication of Polio throughout the world for the last 20 years. This incredible endeavor along with the help of the U. N. has kept Polio isolated in pockets of India and Africa. Work continues to eradicate Polio in those pockets. Yes, occasionally there's a mention of an outbreak but Rotary International is quick to respond. Think of all the manpower, money, etc. being spent to make our world a better place and this is all because of the dedication of more than 1.3 million Rotarians Worldwide!

Anonymous said...

You read stories like this, and it just makes it even more perplexing how people are refusing to vaccinations these days. Just crazy. We eradicated smallpox -- polio is a pretty close second. Measles was on its way until people believed that discredited story that the measles vaccination and autism are linked.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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