History Videos / Knowledge

A Paralyzing Fear

Seldom has society come full circle in the cycle of a disease from illness, to an epidemic to cure. Polio is the 20th century's most notable exception. Every baby boomer remembers collecting dimes in their dime cards, hearing about the success of the Salk shot, and lining up for oral vaccine in a sugar cube. But few know the story of how polio came to America in 1916 and grew into the frightening epidemics of the 1940's and 50's when the diseases crippled tens of thousands of children.

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