The Death of a Disease
A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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The authors are indebted to the many individuals who helped us piece together the stories in this book. Several people gave a great deal of time to share their memories, experience, and knowledge; guide us in the right direction; and reread our manuscript. Each knows what we owe...
1. The Last Victims
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Boureima helps shepherd the family’s donkeys and goats, but, unlike the other children, he does not tug or pull on the animals to coax them into their pen at the end of the day. He cannot play for long without sitting down. Mostly he leans against the adobe wall, watching his sisters, mother,...
2. A Lifetime Burden
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More than two years have gone by since the summer 1998 polio epidemic in Burkina Faso. A
3. A Virus with a Long History
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Roma the Guardian was a priest of the Egyptian goddess Astarte. He is one of the central figures on a stele on display at the Glyptothek Museum in Copenhagen, a stone slab dating back to the eighteenth pharaonic dynasty (sixteenth to thirteenth centuries B.C.). He leans on a staff, his...
4. The People versus Polio
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The Department of Health ordered quarantines for polio victims and their families; windows had to be screened, bed linen disinfected, and household pets banned from a patient’s room. Children under age sixteen were not allowed to travel from July 18 to October 3 unless they had a...
5. Freed from the Iron Lung
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Beginning in the mid-1930s, patients in danger of respiratory paralysis were placed in iron lungs, enormous metal boxes that enclosed the entire body up to the neck. Inside, the alternation between sub-atmospheric and atmospheric pressure caused the thoracic cage to move and kept the...
6. Coming Along at the Right Time: Jonas Salk
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At the end of World War II, prospects for the development of a polio vaccine appeared grim. The puzzle of the poliovirus still had many missing pieces, and polio researchers were haunted by memories of polio vaccine trials where things had gone very...
7. Behind the Scenes
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March 29, 1954. The Canadian edition of Time is hot off the press, and Toronto’s renowned Connaught Laboratories are featured in this issue’s cover story. Canada has just endured its worst polio epidemic the previous year. Time’s cover asks the question on everyone’s lips: “Polio...
8. The Largest Medical Experiment in History
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McLean, Virginia, April 26, 1954. Six-year-old Randy Kerr stepped up to receive an injection of the Salk polio vaccine. He was the first Polio Pioneer to participate in the Francis Field Trial, the largest medical experiment in history. The trial’s design, the result of protracted and lively...
9. The Race for an Oral Vaccine
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On February 27, 1950, an eight-year-old boy from Letchworth Village, New York, received a prototype of the oral polio vaccine Hilary Koprowski had developed using the live, weakened (attenuated) virus. The boy suffered no side effects and Koprowski enlarged his experiment...
10. Revolution in the Production of Vaccines
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The production of polio vaccines marked a turning point in the vaccine industry. For the first time ever, huge quantities of a vaccine—tens of millions of doses—were in demand and manufacturers needed to be both imaginative and daring to meet this...
11. Polio: Programmed for Defeat
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Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, Sunday, January 21, 2001, 7:30 A.M. In the courtyard of the local branch office of the Ministry of Health of Uttar Pradesh, Archana Mudger is standing next to a yellow school bus on loan for the day, giving out orders. The nineteen-year-old history student is...
12. The End Game
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Lokichoggio, Kenya, Saturday, November 18, 2000. The UNICEF cold room is buzzing with activity. It has been set up in a tent at the camp the United Nations uses as its base for the Lifeline Sudan operation. From here, UNICEF and nongovernmental organizations provide assistance to...
13. The Challenge of Eradication
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As the year 2002 drew to a close, it became clear that the World Health Organization’s goal of eradicating all cases of polio caused by the wild virus would not be reached. Not only did the virus continue to spread, but the number of polio cases was higher than in 2001. In addition,...
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About the Authors
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2005