In 95% of the cases, there are no symptoms, but five percent are afflicted with three levels of symptoms.
Abortive polio is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea.
Non-paralytic polio has the added symptoms of sensitivity to light and neck stiffness.
Paralytic polio, which afflicts 1% to 2% of polio cases, is the serious type that results in muscle weakness, muscle pain, spasms, loss of reflexes, limb deformation, paralysis of legs, arms, throat and chest (respiratory failure), and death.
The fatality rate among those with paralytic polio is 2%-5% for children and 15%-30% for adults.
Prior to vaccination, polio was annually causing 15,000 cases of paralysis and 1,900 deaths in America. Many of the paralytic were equipped with metal braces.
Some years, polio infections were much higher. In 1916, there were 27,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths in New York City alone. The names and addresses of individuals with confirmed cases were published in the newspapers, the households were quarantined, movie theaters were closed, public gatherings were cancelled, and thousands fled the city (Fee and Fox, AIDS: The Burdens of History, 1988).
Approved treatments at the time included poultices of such things as chamomile, slippery elm, mustard, and spikenard, intake of caffeine, quinine, and chloride of gold.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was crippled by polio.
The iron lung was invented in the late 1920s to assist polio victims in breathing. It is a long metal tube that encases the polio victim’s body up to the neck and that moves the lungs by increasing and decreasing the air pressure inside the machine by means of a pump.
Most spent a few weeks in the machine, but some were permanently dependent. “Hospitals across the country were filled with rows of iron lungs that kept victims alive.”
Martha Mason was stricken with polio at age 12 and spent more than 60 years in an iron lung, dying in 2009.
In 2008, Dianne Odel died in her iron lung in Memphis when the electricity shut off during a storm. “Her father and brother-in-law took turns pumping the bellows by hand but couldn’t sustain the rhythm long enough to keep her alive” (Brown).
In 2017, Martha Lillard was one of three people in America who were still living in iron lungs. She was afflicted with polio in 1953 when she was five years old. “Lillard recalls being in rooms packed with metal tubes—especially when there were storms and all the men, women, adults, and children, would be moved to the same room so nurses could manually operate the iron lungs if the power went out. ‘The period of time that it took the nurse to get out of the chair, it seemed like forever because you weren’t breathing,’ Lillard said. ‘You just laid there and you could feel your heart beating and it was just terrifying. The only noise that you can make when you can’t breathe is clicking your tongue. And that whole dark room just sounded like a big room full of chickens just cluck-cluck-clucking. All the nurses were saying, Just a second, you’ll be breathing in just a second’” (Jennings Brown, “The Last of the iron Lungs,” Gizmodo, Nov. 20, 2017).
Mona Randolph was stricken with polio in 1956 and was still living spending most her days in an iron lung in 2018 at age 82. Her machine is 75 years old. She is “heartbroken when she meets anti-vaccine activists.” She says, “When children inquire what happened to me, I tell them the nerve wires that tell my muscles what to do were damaged by a virus. And I ask them if they have had their vaccine to prevent this. No one has ever argued with me. Of course, I’m concerned about any place where there’s no vaccine. I would just do anything to prevent somebody from having to go through what I have. I mean, my mother, if she had the vaccine available, I would have had it in a heartbeat” (Brown, Gizmodo, Nov. 20, 2017).
In 1955, the polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk. He refused to profit from the vaccine by patenting it. In 1961, an oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin.
In 1980, the terrible disease was considered eliminated from the US. The last outbreak occurred in 1979 among Amish and others who did not believe in vaccination and was introduced from the Netherlands “by members of an unvaccinated religious group” (“Vaccine Timeline,” Immunization Action Coalition).
Beginning in 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and Rotary International initiated an aggressive campaign to end polio worldwide, which has been largely successful. In 2016 there were 27 cases in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Bartlett Palmer, who was responsible for popularizing chiropractic in America as an acceptable medical practice, rejected the “germ theory” of infectious disease, and was opposed to vaccinations.
“Bartlett, who rejected the teaching of the Bible, believed, with his father Daniel, that an intelligent natural healing energy called Innate flows through the body and is connected to the ‘Universal Intelligence’ or ‘Great Spirit’ that permeates the universe. This is based on the pagan doctrine of panentheism that God is in everything. Palmer’s Innate is comparable to the Taoist chi. He believed that Innate flows through the nervous system and can be blocked. Chiropractic, which means ‘done by hand,’ manipulates or adjusts the spine to remove the blockages and enable the body to maintain its own healing ability. Palmer said, ‘We did not diagnose, treat, or cure disease. We analyzed, adjusted cause, and Innate in patient cured’” (Joseph Keating, Notes on B.J. Palmer and the Palmer School).
“When the polio epidemic was at its peak in the mid-1950s and the Salk vaccine was being promoted for immunization against poliomyelitis, the National Chiropractic Association campaigned against polio vaccination and recommended chiropractic adjustments for preventing and treating the disease. ... Leaning on the theory that correcting ‘vertebral subluxations’ will cure and prevent disease by removing ‘nerve interference’ and boosting the body’s immune system, many chiropractors still oppose vaccination, fluoridation, and other mandatory public health measures. Despite the historical success of vaccination, neither of the two major chiropractic associations supports mandatory vaccination. ... Although fewer chiropractors openly oppose vaccination today, the number who do is significant” (Samuel Homola, How Chiropractice Subluxation Theory Threatens Public Health, www.chirobase.org/01General/risk.html).
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