You probably don’t know anyone who ever had polio.
The Last Case of Polio
After all, the United States has been free of polio since 1979. At least that’s when we had the last endemic case or the last case that originated here.
The last case was in 1993. At least that’s when we had the last imported case of polio in the United States.
A 2005 outbreak of vaccine derived poliovirus in 2005 among a group of unvaccinated Amish in Minnesota didn’t cause any symptoms. They had probably been exposed to someone outside the United States that was still shedding after getting an oral polio vaccine, which hadn’t been used in the United States since 2000.
And then there were these following “last cases:”
- The last case of VAPP that was acquired in the United States – 1999.
- The last case of VAPP that was acquired outside the United States – 2005 – an unvaccinated 22-year-old U.S. college student who became infected with polio vaccine virus while traveling in Costa Rica in a university-sponsored study-abroad program.
And then there is the final last case of VAPP – 2009 – a patient with a long-standing combined immunodeficiency who was probably infected in the late 1990s, even though she didn’t develop paralysis until years later.
Polio Survivor Stories
Since vaccines work and the United States has essentially been polio free since 1979, it wouldn’t be surprising if you don’t know anyone who ever had polio.
Or do you?
“The doctors told my parents that little could be done for me, so my father prepared for my funeral. Fortunately, I recovered, except for the use of my right hand.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Vaccination’s Lifetime of Blessings
You might not have ever have even heard of anyone who had polio?
Or have you?
A few recent news stories highlight just how common polio used to be in the pre-vaccine era:
- Mitch McConnell Wouldn’t Meet with the March of Dimes Even Though They Treated His Polio as a Child
- Joni Mitchell – after the stuff about Morgellons, you can read about how she battled polio as a child
“When Joni turned 10 years old in late 1953, she woke up one morning paralyzed. It was quickly diagnosed and she was shipped to a polio colony in Saskatoon – similar to a leper colony designed to halt the spread of the disease.”
Do you know who else had polio?
- Alan Alda
- Arthur C. Clarke
- Francis Ford Coppola – “contracted polio and spent almost a year in bed, his legs paralyzed.”
- Mia Farrow
- Frida Kahlo
- Jack Nicklaus
- Itzhak Perlman – has needed crutches to walk since he contracted polio at age 4 years
- David Sanborn
- Dinah Shore
- Donald Sutherland
- Desmond Tutu –
- Neil Young
Of course, in addition to all of the polio survivor stories, there are stories that aren’t told of the people who didn’t survive polio.
Except when those stories are told too…
What to Know About Polio Survivor Stories
Reading polio stories, from survivors and of those who died, helps reinforce how important it is that we eradicate this vaccine-preventable disease as soon as possible.
More About Polio Survivor Stories
- Polio: The Saddest Stories in Our Family
- Polio Survivor Recalls Tragic Loss of Twin and Classmates
- My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines
- Top 5 Reasons to Eradicate Polio
- Polio News and Stories
- CDC – Paralytic Poliomyelitis — United States, 1980-1994
- CDC – Imported Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis — United States, 2005
- Amish Face Polio Outbreak With Faith in God Rather Than Vaccine
- Polio among the Amish
- Through a child’s eyes: a child’s polio experience
- Parents PACK Personal Stories – Polio
- My Life As A Polio Survivor
- Polio Survivors Network
- Polio Survivors in the 21st Century
- Why I am sharing my story as a polio survivor
- Through A Child’s Eyes: A Child’s Polio Experience
- Polio Survivors Association
- Pennsylvania Polio Survivor Network
- Polio Survivors & Associates
- Post-Polio Health International
- After Effects of Polio Can Harm Survivors 40 Years Later
- The iron lung – a polio patient’s story
- Vaccination’s Lifetime of Blessings
- A Polio Story from Cayman Brac
- Kent’s Polio Story
- Polio: a personal experience
- Polio victim entreats parents to say “yes” to vaccines
- Famous People who had and have Polio
- I’m Not Going to Give Up – The story of Emma Eivers, polio survivor
- The Long War on Polio, as Recalled by Its Generals
Updated November 24, 2017