Brooke S, Derek G, Max P.

What Is Polio?

Polio is a virus that causes sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, stomach pain, and in some cases, paralysis. It is spread through either either nasal or oral transmission, or contact feces that is contaminated with the virus. Though children 5 and under are most likely to be afflicted, no one is immune without proper vaccination. During mild cases, the victim can usually recover with no issues. During more severe cases however, victims struck with paralysis must rely on others for basic needs for the rest of their lives.
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Is there a cure?

Unfortunately, there is not currently a cure for Polio. There are however vaccinations offered to help prevent the virus. There are two types of prevention vaccines, inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which is given through an injection, and oral poliovirus vaccine. Additionally, keeping waste areas clean is a good way to prevent being affected, since it is spread through the contact of infected feces. Non-potty trained kids are very likely to get the virus, so parents should supervise their young children. If one is to obtain the virus, the only remedies available are heat therapy, physical therapy, and antispasmodic drugs to relieve muscle pains.

What areas are affected by Polio?

Today, the disease is most prevalent in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Luckily, with the implementation of vaccines, the cases are minimal. In the year 2015 only 74 cases were reported worldwide last year, compared to the 350,000 cases in 1988. Before the vaccine, there was a serious outbreak in the U.S.A. with thousands of cases per year.

What is being done to help?

One of the main Polio groups is the “Post-Polio Health International.” Their goal is to “enhance the lives and independence of polio survivors and home ventilator users through education, advocacy, research and networking.” The other main proactive polio prevention groups is the “Global Polio Eradication Initiative.” As stated in their name, their goal is to eradicate polio worldwide. They partner with other world organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

What can I do to help?

Normal citizens should be sure to talk to their doctors about the polio vaccine, especially if they expecting children. Additionally, be sure to stay sanitary and clean up waste areas or bathrooms, since it is commonly spread through feces.

Meet Patti

Patti was only six months old when she contracted polio in 1949. She remembers nothing of her times in hospital for orthopedic surgery and she only vaguely remembers outpatient follow up clinic visits. She however has vivid and pleasant memories of being taken to weekly swims in the pool at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto by a volunteer from the Rotary Club,

As a result of polio, Patti grew up with a wasted right calf, a drop foot and her right leg was approximately an inch shorter than her left. The surgeries to fuse her ankle and transfer muscle tendons enabled her to walk without aids although she has always lived with the challenge of split size shoes. One size 8 and the other size 5! Patti says shoe shopping has never been one of her guilty pleasures!

Polio did not stop Patti from achieving her dreams. She graduated from University of Toronto in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy in 1970. She moved to Hamilton, Ontario to work as a staff physiotherapist, later specializing in lower limb amputation rehabilitation. While continuing to work full time, she went back to school in 1991 where she earned her graduate degree from McMaster University. She has held several high level management roles. In 2003 she started her own consulting firm facilitating change management and overseeing projects in both healthcare and academic environments until her retirement in April, 2010.

She has participated in humanitarian projects in the Balkans and Kurdistan, Iraq. For pleasure, destinations like the Caribbean, Italy, Cuba, Greece, Dominican Republic, Egypt and Jordan. Patti had discovered a passion for travel!

Over the past couple of years, Patti has begun experiencing weakening of her grip strength in both hands, more instability in her right knee and a decrease in the distance that she can comfortably walk. She resorted to a single cane for the walk into Petra in Jordan last year. Her love of travel prompted her to consult a physiatrist this year. She has severe osteoarthritis in her right knee and is now “breaking in” an ankle foot orthosis which she says is helping her knee stability and walking tolerance significantly without the cane.

Projection of Polio

If no vaccine was ever offered, this is most likely how Polio would be plaguing the world today.
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Equation: y=9,500(1.3)^x

y- population afflicted

x- years since 1937

Growth Rate: 30% growth per year

5 Years in the Future: 2,347,113 people afflicted

10 Years in the Future: 8,714,666 people afflicted

50 Years in the Future: 314,763,856,400 afflicted

Cases will Double: 2.6 years

Cases will Triple: 4.2 years

Cases will Quadruple: 5.3 years

Explanation of Projection

This projection uses the average from actual data point of polio cases. Because it is just an average, and no other variable such as the implementation of vaccinations are being considered, this projection may not be 100% accurate.