In 1934 and 1935, two polio vaccines were prematurely employed in large-scale trials with disastrous results. The vaccines, given to 17,000 children in Canada and the U.S., killed six and paralyzed a dozen others, the deaths and paralyses typically involving paralysis in the inoculated arm rather than in the legs, as was more normal. So traumatic was this experience -- to both the public and the research establishment -- that it would take another two decades before another polio vaccine would be brought to market.
Whatever the reasons for this epidemic, there are a few signs of hope. Like the common cold and flu, infection is entirely preventable by washing the hands with soap and water as well as regularly disinfecting surfaces. Should an infection occur, there is still only a small chance it could get worse;
Afternoon of a Faun, a documentary by Nancy Buriski, tells the incredible story of Tanaquil "Tanny" Le Clercq, a world-renowned ballerina who was struck down at the height of her career by polio. The good news is that earlier this year, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched a plan to achieve a polio-free world by 2018.
I stand behind the women around the globe who are leading the charge against polio and working relentlessly to achieve a polio-free world. As mothers and women from local communities unite in the fight against the disease, we too must take action to protect the lives of children, no matter where they live.
It used to be that modern medicine was a thing to be venerated, a doctor's words regarded like golden nectar of wisdom. Now, not so much. Once upon a time vaccinations were seen as miracles in a needle, warding off potentially life-threatening illnesses. In the States, the unvaccinating movement has turned epidemic, with as many as one in 10 parents refusing to vaccinate their children.