Profile America — Thursday, April 12th. On this date in 1955, the nation was loudly celebrating great medical news. Dr. Jonas Salk announced a vaccine against polio — the most feared disease of that era. Polio affects the nervous system, causing paralysis in the legs and the muscles operating the lungs. Most victims were children — hence the other name for the illness, infantile paralysis. However, adults could also contract polio and its most famous victim was Franklin D. Roosevelt. After the introduction of the Salk vaccine, the incidence of the disease quickly declined, and by 1967, had nearly vanished. Today, more than nine-out-of-10 infants are vaccinated against polio. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2012, p. 214 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 192
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