My generation was born into an era where the most dreaded disease affecting our Nation was that of polio. It could affect anyone at any age but it was most prolific in the children and young adults. Not unlike earlier generations, we lived with a palatable underlying fear of the polio virus visiting us and leaving permanent physical destruction within our families if not death itself. And without the dreaded but life-saving iron lung, death would have been almost certain for those in the photograph below.
It was the grandest of news therefore when in 1955 news was splashed across the the front pages of our state and national newspapers that a vaccine had finally been developed under the guidance of Dr. Jonas Salk that would begin to wipe the scourge of this disease from our mist which gave us a moment of pause and thankfulness to reflect on the past but more importantly, a much more secure future from the dreaded disease.
But the even better news of the this day is that we are apparently nearing a point where the disease will be completely eradicated from this earth. The disease left our nation’s shores and subject of conversation years ago yet continued to wreak its havoc across other areas of our globe. But here in the United States, out of sight – out of mind.
A piece was written and published on the NPR (National Public Radio) today that details the demise of polio and declares that quite possibly by the end of next year, 2016, the disease will be completely eradicated from the entire globe. You may review and read the article “here” along with several interesting interactive charts.
This news is surely something well worth noting, acknowledging and celebrating but due to our fortunes here in this country and medical research in general, only those mostly from my generation and earlier will make any note whatsoever of today’s news on one of the greatest nemesis of our lifetime. One down but oh so many more to go…. 🙁