Also included is a concise but comprehensive history of polio in 20th century America. In 1916, the crippling disease began in New York City and spread to other parts of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt's county was especially hard hit with a 25% mortality rate. He formed a group of prominent citizens from his town of Oyster Bay and tried to prevent the disease from spreading. Nothing worked. In 1921 his distant cousin Franklin got polio and lost the use of both of his legs. He also was weak in his pelvic area and unable to walk more than a few steps on crutches. He founded a rehabilitation center in Warm Springs, Georgia. By 1926 he realized that he was never going to walk again but felt he could still run for office. In 1928 he ran for Governor of New York and served two terms. In 1933 he became President of the United States. While President he asked his law partner, Basil O'Connor, to head up a charity which provided for patient care and research into the disease. All patients needing money for hospital expenses were cared for. It was the most successful charity ever. It eliminated the need for government involvement.
After World War II, people began to clamor for a vaccine to prevent polio in the new generation of baby boomers. Enter Jonas Salk. By using his intelligence, great leadership skills and hard tedious work he was able to test his vaccine in 1952. In 1954 the vaccine was tested on millions of first, second and third grade children and was found to be safe and effective. In 1962 Salk's vaccine was replaced with Sabin's oral vaccine but that was found to cause polio in a few people. In 2000 the United States went back to the Salk vaccine. The Sabin vaccine is used for the developing world because of inability to afford expensive needles and because immunity can be spread by vaccinated people to the unvaccinated.
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About the Author
The author was born and raised near Towson, Maryland. She graduated from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She worked as a programmer/analyst for 20 years until she went on disability in 1995. Her father, H. Edwin Jones, was a survivor of the polio epidemic of 1944 and held positions in the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) for over ten years. He became chairman of the Baltimore Chapter of the NFIP in 1956. He retired as head of the last vegetable cannery in Baltimore at age 62 after he became weak with post-polio syndrome. He was an inspiration to all Baltimore polio survivors.
Other Books by Mary Beth Smith
The Joy of Life, A Biography of Theodore Roosevelt
Healing Manic Depression and Depression: What Works, based on What Helped Me
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