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Paralysis Epidemic Of The 1950s: Poliomyelitis

1017 words - 5 pages

Poliomyelitis was declared an epidemic in the early 1950s in the United States. It caused primarily children and young adults to develop paralysis, led to social stigma for the older adults diagnosed with this virus. To this day there is still no cure for this disease, poliomyelitis can only be prevented with vaccination.
Poliomyelitis is a virus that infects the nerves of the spinal cord, and brain which leads to paralysis and or death (Piddock, 2004). Poliomyelitis is best known today as Polio, and Infantile Paralysis. Tonsillectomy polio would take over the lymph nodes in order to spread the infection throughout the body, leading to muscle paralysis in the limbs, and in some cases ...view middle of the document...

Polio was a disease that every person feared and National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis was helped raise awareness and money to combat this disease. The majority of those diagnosed with polio were treated the same, no matter what income they had because they were all sick with the same disease. Franklin Roosevelt went to Warm Springs, Georgia for his hydro-therapy, this place was only for white patients(NMAH, 2005). He later bought this property, and made it available to more people who lived with polio. In 1933, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis funded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama so that black patients could get rehabilitation therapy because they weren’t allowed into Warm Springs (NMAH, 2005). Alice D. Arbo, a lower-middle class woman from Winslow, Maine was diagnosed with tonsillectomy polio in 1952 at twenty-three years old. Alice went to Hyde Memorial Home, a rehabilitation facility for the crippled in Bath, Maine. She received similar treatments to Franklin Roosevelt even though she wasn’t wealthy or famous. They kept her in an iron-lung ventilator for three months because her lungs were paralyzed, and later went through months of hydrotherapy prior to going home to her husband and two young children in late 1953. In a little over one year, she regained her upper body and shortly after proceeded to have three more children. Alice is now eighty-five-years-old, and is only one of thousands of people from Maine who lived a successful life with polio. No matter what society thought of those who were crippled by polio, it didn’t stop the people lived with the disease from having normal lives.
The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis would raise money to find a cure for polio by creating billboards with pictures of young children using braces and confined to wheelchairs, glamorizing the horror of being crippled. This convinced people to donate their dimes to help fight the effects of this disease, and NFIP became known as the March of Dimes...

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