In fact, the polio outbreak in 1952 became the worst epidemic in our nation’s history. This can occur over a few hours to a few days.

Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.

Polio Once Caused … In the early 1950s, before polio vaccines were available, polio outbreaks caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis each year.

Polio, once the most feared of diseases, is about to be eradicated. Following introduction of vaccines—specifically, trivalent inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in 1955 and trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in 1963—the number of polio cases fell rapidly to less than 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s. 58,000 cases were reported that year. The weakness most often involves the legs, but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. In about 0.5 percent of cases, there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. Many people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness, about 2 to 5 …