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Access: Persistent Polio

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  • Hilary Stace,

    A couple more links

    The type of Australian-designed iron lung used in NZ

    The UK Nuffield Foundation donated one to every hospital in the British Empire.
    Elvis getting his vaccine shot. He was a great supporter of the March of Dimes

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Well done Hillary, you have covered this well
    I well remember the day off school work in the late 50s when we were given our injections, with the drops being given a year or so later ( much less traumatic)
    Rotary may have an image of old fuddy duddies but we have poured huge amounts of money into the eradication of polio with a lot of help from the Bill Gates Foundation and various governments
    Africa has been free for one year (three years free are required) and the numbers of infections in the sub continent are at a record low
    We are finally "this close" to eradicating a second disease from the World

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Thanks Raymond. Yes Rotary have been dedicated to this cause for a long time. I am from the era when we lined up in the classroom to have the cherry pink drink in little paper cups.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    A fascinating local history Hilary. Thank you.

    Raymond’s right about Rotary’s role – without that impetus, and the support of the Gates Foundation, this effort would have stalled or slowed. We’re now getting there, very quickly. The figures that Hilary mentions are found here, and you can see countries being crossed off the list. It has now been almost a year since the last case in Nigeria, for example. There is some circulating vaccine derived polio in Madagascar, but this is being contained.

    This article illustrates very well how the challenges posed in Pakistan and Afghanistan are being faced and overcome.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    The 'polios' I have met (that is what they tend to call themselves) are some of the staunchest pro-vaxxers you could find (unlike the autism community which still argues about it).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • TracyMac,

    Great social history of the disease and its effects in NZ. Thank you.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    In a magnanimous gesture, Salk never patented the vaccine.

    "Vaccine Developer Chooses Not to Exploit Human Misery"

    Not a headline we're likely to see nowadays.

    Excellent post Hilary, as usual.

    When is the book coming out?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Sue,

    my mum remembers having a whole 3 months off school when polio hit woodville and all the kids were kept at home just in case. it was a most boring time as the one thing you couldn't do was go out and play with your friends.

    My neighbour meets up with a group of past polios every year, the group keeps getting smaller and smaller, and now they are older, most people just assume they have trouble moving due to age

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie,

    A unique and highly readable personal survivor's account - the late June Opie's Over My Dead Body.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks Joe. I was going to mention June Opie as her book was very popular in our school library and I remember it very vividly. I didn't realise she was a New Zealander till recently. She wrote a follow up in the 1990s.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    She caught polio on the boat to the UK - basically on her OE. Then spent a long time in the dreaded iron lung recovering - her descriptions of it are horrific.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sue,

    My oldest sister remembers schools being closed for most of the first term in one epidemic. They weren't allowed out of their little street or to play with neighbourhood kids and certainly not allowed to go to the pool, even though it was a very hot summer. But they were all so terrified of polio they complied.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    and in a weird twist of fate, a practice nurse in the UK in the early sixties contracted a mild form of polio from the vaccine.

    I knew this person, there may have been others.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • B Jones,

    OPV is getting phased out worldwide because of the risk it can revert back to virulent form in rare cases. It hasn't been used in NZ for a decade or so, and I can just about remember its odd strawberry chemical taste from about 1981. But it's easier to store and administer than IPV and is still used in developing countries because of that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I suppose the difference these days is that probably no pharmaceutical researchers are independently or govt funded these days. Good luck getting a Big Pharma megacorp to give up its IP for the common good these days.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to TracyMac,

    Good luck getting a Big Pharma megacorp to give up its IP for the common good these days.

    ....because there's gold in them there 'ills...

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • B Jones,

    Ebola vaccine research has been at least partially government-funded. The NZ government funded the development of the MeNZ-B vaccine back in the 2000s. I'm sure there are other examples.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • Seriatim, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Yes there have been others; I remember reading that it's an "unstable" vaccine. Whatever that means.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report

  • wendyf,

    Thanks for the story, Hilary. My mother sang the praises of Sister Kenny as a person who stood up to the medical fraternity and persevered. I well remember the 1940's epidemic. It was a fabulous time for many of us kids.Glorious summer! I was lucky because my folks had access to a primitive bach and I could swim (when the tide was right) and fish and when the weekends arrived my dad would bring our little launch and we would go fishing. I even saw a movie - we called in at the fishing lodge at Otehei Bay and they showed movies to their guests.

    I seem to recall doing correspondence school lessons.

    My husband, Leon, lived in Wanganui and made a canoe which provided many happy hours on the river. Many years later an astute GP discarded the idea that Leon's sore knee was arthritis, and after careful measuring of the legs said it looked like he had had polio. Casting back in time Leon recalled having pneumonia as a young man, initially diagnosed as swinging the lead. He was very week for a long time and that's when he probably had polio. And yes, some years after that he had post polio syndrome, and sometimes needed a stick for walking. But he knew how very lucky he had been.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report

  • Angela Hart, in reply to wendyf,

    and now we are all so lucky to have access to safe and effective vaccines, but unfortunately so many people have no experience of serious illness and believe the anti-vaccination crackpots, so that we have whooping cough, measles and other diseases we don't need to be contending with still affecting our children.
    I remember having whooping cough along with my three siblings. Poor mum! I also remember being given the polio vaccine on a sugar cube and her relief that this was available.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to wendyf,

    One of the concerns of polios today is the lack of understanding or knowledge of polio by clinicians. Most will have never seen a case. Several said they liked new immigrant doctors from Asia or Africa as they usually had up to date experience.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    I reckon people calling themselves 'polios' is no different that calling themselves 'cripples' or 'spastics'. Mediating self-identification and group interests has been poorly argued. Recent links remedying that are most welcome.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Martin, in reply to Sacha,

    No different than me calling myself a para I reckon Sacha. And while para has absolutely no political connotations, I wouldn't strip 'polios' of any

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2015 • 25 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Martin,

    I could call us 'wankers' Martin but I doubt that reflects well on any of us.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    They refer to themselves as polios. I checked whether someone without polio could also use that term and it seems fine. Seems to be a convenient term without political overtones. That 'people with' language debate doesn't seem to be an issue. Perhaps because this is an older group predating disability identity and activism debates.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

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