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Polio
Poliomyelitis

An infectious disease that once terrorized parents the world over is now on the verge of being eradicated.

Chapter 1
Polio Arrives to America

The first polio epidemic in 1894 was just the beginning of a yearly threat to the public from an unseen threat.

June 17, 1894
First U.S. Polio Epidemic

1905
Contagious Nature of Polio Discovered

June 17, 1916
New York City Polio Epidemic

August 8, 1921
Polio Strikes FDR

Chapter 2
The Search for a Polio Vaccine

The polio virus was unseen and unknown until certain key events helped pave the way for a vaccine.

1931
More Than One Type of Poliovirus Proposed

1936
Growing Poliovirus in Human Nervous Tissue

1938
March of Dimes Born

1941
Poliovirus in Digestive System

1948
Koprowski Tests Polio Vaccine on Himself

1949
Bodian Finds Three Types of Poliovirus

1952
Polio Cases Surge

Chapter 3
The Polio Vaccine Arrives

Big breakthroughs bring two highly effective and safe vaccines.

April 25, 1954
Massive Polio Vaccine Trial Begins in U.S.

1959
Soviet Trials of Sabin's Live Poliovirus Vaccine

August 24, 1960
Sabin's Polio Vaccine Licensed

Chapter 4
Polio Is Marked for Eradication

Following the footsteps of the smallpox eradication program, the polio eradication campaign begins with some successes.

1985
Goal Set for Polio Elimination in the Americas

1988
Global Polio Eradication Initiative

1997
Massive Vaccination Efforts in India

1998
Polio Immunization Efforts in Sudan

March 27, 2014
South-East Asia Region Polio-Free

April 17, 2016
Type 2 Oral Polio Vaccine Discontinued

Chapter 5
The Last Vestiges of Polio

As of October 2022, naturally acquired polio is only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Types 2 and 3 do not occur naturally anymore, though they can occur from vaccine shedding. It is from that vaccine shedding that polio is being detected in places outside of Afghanistan. The push is on to get rid of the last vestiges of polio and declare all three types eradicated once and for all.

June 1, 2022
Vaccine-Derived Polio Is Found in London's Wastewater Surveillance Samples

Surveillance of wastewater in London suggests vaccine-derived polio is being shed into the system by people who have been vaccinated with the live oral polio vaccine.

July 1, 2022
Polio Returns to New York City

A case of paralytic polio in a New York City resident sparked a robust public health response that included a disaster declaration from the Governor of New York.