Tag Archives: polio

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]

A Cold War Vaccine: Albert Sabin, Russia, and the oral polio vaccine

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Albert Sabin (second from left) and Mikhail Chumakov (third from left). Credit: Courtesy Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati Libraries. Fair Use. In the midst of the 2020 Covid–19 pandemic, when […]

Philip Roth’s “Nemesis:” a lesson for today

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Polio patient in a wheelchair. Images like this were used to encourage individuals to receive polio vaccinations, which were made available in April, 1955. CDC Public Health Library. Source.  As we grapple with the impact of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus, Covid–19, we may wish to […]

Salk and Sabin: the disease, the rivalry and the vaccine

Kevin Loughlin Boston, MA, United States   Jonas Salk was born in a tenement in the East Harlem section of New York City. Albert Sabin was born in Poland and as a child immigrated to the United States with his parents. From these humble beginnings, they would emerge as two of the preeminent scientists of […]

Polio conundrums

Denis Gill Dublin, Ireland   Ancient Egyptian stele of Ruma For most children, infection with the polio virus caused no symptoms or a minor illness.  But about 1% of those infected experienced paralysis of one or both lower limbs. Worse still, bulbar paralysis could lead to the  inability to breathe. The effects of polio were […]

Frida Kahlo

Now recognized as one of the great painters of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo’s life had been one of suffering and pain. Born in Mexico, she had polio at age six, leaving her with a contracted left leg. At the age of 20 she had a serious bus accident that fractured her spinal column, clavicle, ribs, […]