October 26, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 27

Polio, then and now

One local woman recalls her childhood battle with the virus to mark World Polio Day, Wednesday, Oct. 24

Polio. People in their 50s and 60s can instantly recall their childhoods and the fear of the polio epidemic. Everyone stood in the long lines to receive the liquid vaccine, often dropped on a sugar cube.

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Global Polio Eradication Initiative
A young boy in Nigeria receives the oral polio vaccine.

Virginia Fitzner was 11 years old in 1950, before Jonas Salk invented the first vaccine in 1952. In her small farming community in rural Montana, Fitzner knew about polio but it hadn’t affected her community.

“It was feared that you could get it, but it wasn’t real common,” she said this week from her home outside of Cheney.

That summer, when she developed a fever her doctor thought...

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