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Polio Survivors:


This project is for those who SURVIVED polio.

If they Died from Polio or a complication of Polio, please add them to: People Who Died from Polio (Polio) in the Cause of Death Portal


Alternate Names: polio, poliomyelitis, infantile paralysis


Tags: polio, poliomyelitis, infantile paralysis, handicaps, paralysis, bone deformities, abortive poliomyelitis


Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, according to the CDC, is an incurable, "crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis." One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

There is no cure for polio. The focus of modern treatment has been on providing relief of symptoms, speeding recovery and preventing complications. The polio vaccines developed by Jonas Salk in 1952 and Albert Sabin in 1962 are credited with reducing the annual number of polio cases from many hundreds of thousands to around a thousand.

Polio is one of only two diseases currently the subject of a global eradication program, the other being Guinea worm disease. A number of eradication milestones have already been reached, and several regions of the world have been certified polio-free.

Classifications:

Polio infections caused Minor and Major illnesses.

  • MINOR illnesses did NOT involve the central Nervous system (CNS). It could cause no symptoms, or minor symptoms such as upper respiratory tract infections (sore throat and fever), gastrointestinal disturbances (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation or, rarely, diarrhea), and influenza-like illness.
  • MAJOR illnesses involve the CNS in about 1% of the cases and may be Paralytic or Nonparalytic. Most patients with CNS involvement develop nonparalytic aseptic meningitis, with symptoms of headache, neck, back, abdominal and extremity pain, fever, vomiting, lethargy, and irritability. About one to five in 1000 cases progress to paralytic disease, in which the muscles become weak, floppy and poorly controlled, and, finally, completely paralyzed; this condition is known as acute flaccid paralysis. Depending on the site of paralysis, paralytic poliomyelitis is classified as spinal, bulbar, or bulbospinal. Encephalitis, an infection of the brain tissue itself, can occur in rare cases, and is usually restricted to infants. It is characterized by confusion, changes in mental status, headaches, fever, and, less commonly, seizures and spastic paralysis.

There is also a Post-polio syndrome, mainly characterized by new weakening in muscles that were previously affected by the polio infection and in muscles that seemingly were unaffected. Symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, unaccustomed fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and, at times, muscle atrophy.

Links to Additional Reading:

Famous People who Have or Had Polio:

For Additional People See:

  • Famous People who Had or Have Polio
  • Wikipedia - List of Poliomyelitis Survivors
  • Donald Sutherland Donald McNichol Sutherland - (born July 17, 1935) is a prolific Canadian actor with a film career spanning over 40 years. A sickly child, he battled rheumatic fever, hepatitis and caught polio as a child.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt - (January 30, 1882 - April 12, 1945), was the 32nd President of the United States. In August 1921Roosevelt contracted an illness, at the time believed to be polio, which resulted in Roosevelt's total and permanent paralysis from the waist down.
  • Arthur C. Clarke Sir Arthur Charles Clarke - (born 16 December 1917) a British science fiction writer, futuristic and inventor who became famous following his novel "A Space Odyssey". Charles has been suffering from polio.
  • Kim Beazley - (born 14 December 1948) an Australian politician and academic being the leader of the opposition from 1996 to 2001, and from 2005 to 2006. Kim Beazley became a victim of polio at the age of 5 years old and it had caused a royal scare. Kim's mother had shaken the hand of the queen shortly before Kim was diagnosed with polio.
  • John Laws - (born 8 August 1935) a radio presenter in Australia and has been on Australian talk radio longer than any other broadcaster due to his un-surpassed popularity. John laws has suffered from polio and once needed the Iron Lung to stay alive.
  • Jack Nicklaus - (born January 21, 1940) also known as "The Golden Bear" is thought by many to be the greatest golfer of all times. Jack has suffered from a mild case of polio at a younger age but was able to get through it without too many problems.
  • Alan Alda - (born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo on January 28, 1936) a five-time Emmy Award-winning, six-time Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated American actor. Alda contracted polio, aged 7, during an epidemic. His parents administered a painful treatment, developed by Sister Elizabeth Kenny, where hot woolen blankets were applied to the limbs and the muscles were stretched by massage. This treatment, though brutal, allowed Alda to recover much movement.
  • Dinah Shore - (1916-1994): (born Frances Rose Shore February 29, 1916 - February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress and television personality. When she was two years old, she was stricken with polio (infantile paralysis), a disease that was not preventable at the time, and for which treatment was limited to bedrest. Her parents provided intensive care for her and she recovered and overcame the disease. However, she continued to have a slightly deformed foot and limp, which did not physically impede her.
  • Christopher Anne Templeton - actress, born and raised on the "Gold Coast" of Chicago where she went to New Tier High School. Templeton (one of the first physically handicapped soap opera stars) was partially crippled due to a case of childhood polio. From 1983-1993 - walking with a post-polio limp.
  • Ann Adams - (1937-1992) artist (by mouth) Adams had not breathed on her own for over forty years, and though she could not use her hands, her mind was far from being handicapped. Paralyzed from the neck down, she was able to move only a few facial and neck muscles. At the age of nineteen, Ann married an Annapolis Naval Officer. At twenty-one, she gave birth to her son, Kenny, and two years later, in 1950, she was struck with polio. After polio struck, Ann spent a year-and-a-half in Jacksonville, and the following year-and-a-half in a rehab center in North Carolina. The next five years of her life were spent in the strict cloister of an iron lung. There was no way or means of leaving even her bedroom because of the respiratory problem.
  • Joey Rulli - fighting under the name "Jockey Lupo", was an outstanding amateur and pro boxer in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before his promising career ended tragically. At the age of 20 and at the height of his career, Joey was stricken with spinal polio while training for a fight with Vince Martinez. He was partially paralyzed for the rest of his life and never fought again. He later became a state spokesman for "The March of Dimes". His accomplishments during his brief career make Joey a welcome addition to our list of famous people with disabilities.
  • Bill Cullen - (1920-1990) game show host Bill Cullen Find A Grave Memorial
  • Buddy Daley - Baseball All-Star (1959 and 1960)
  • Lionel Barrymore - (1878-1954): actor
  • Lois Catherine Marshall - (1924-1997): Canadian singer in the 50s and 60s
  • Lord Snowden - photographer, UK (Princess Margaret's former husband)
  • Margarete Steiff - (1847-1909): German seamstress who founded Steiff Teddy Bears
  • Bhagwat Subramanya Chandrasekhar - Cricket Champion from India

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