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February 25, 1998


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Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association

JAMA. 1998;279(8):630-631. doi:10.1001/jama.279.8.630-JBK0225-2-1

Polio. In my generation, the word was a synonym for terror, especially for parents, evoking images of children with paralyzed limbs unable to breathe or swallow, tank respirators (iron lungs), Sister Kenny, the handicapped F.D.R. When I was little, a long time ago, the one thing I could do to gain absolute control over my parents was to announce that I could not go to my piano lesson or some such event because I had a headache, a backache, or was really, really tired. Before the advent of the vaccines, first Salk and then Sabin, polio was one of the most dreaded diseases of childhood, although, as testified to in this book, many adults were among its seriously ill victims. Now, like smallpox before it, polio has been almost obliterated from the world.

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