Sunday, December 10, 2017

History of Poliomyelitis

Polio in Greek ‘polios’, gray, and ‘myelos’, spinal cord, is a disease characterized by aseptic meningitis and lytic infection of the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord by one of three human poliovirus serotypes.

Thirty five hundred years ago an Egyptian craftsman craved a bas relief steal depicting a young man (Roma the Guardian) with a crippled withered leg.

He supported himself with a staff held under his arm much as one might use a crutch. The young man shrunken leg characteristic of the flaccid, paralysis or ‘foot drop’ is typical of that seen following paralysis in childhood. The young man probably had a disease call poliomyelitis – polio for short – as a child.

Roma is the oldest documented victim of poliomyelitis. The discovery of the this 18th dynasty Egyptian is evidence that this disease has a long history.

One palaeopathological studies, the markedly deformed foot of the nineteenth dynasty (1225 BC) Pharaoh Siptah has also been posited as evidence of poliomyelitis.

The writings of Hippocrates make reference to a variety of crippling conditions, some of which may have been attributes to poliovirus.

In 1789, Michael Underwood, an English physician was the first to describe ‘debility of the lower extremities,’ which he attributed to ‘teething’ or ‘fever.’

In 1894, the disease caused an outbreak in Vermont when 119 children were diagnosed with polio.

European and American researchers had established the viral etiology of polio by 1909 and many felt confident that etiologic precision would enable them to explain the spread of the disease.

In 1916, the United States faced one of the worst polio epidemics of the 20th century, when polio killed 6000 people and paralyze an additional 27,000.

The last cases of polio in the United States were in 1979 and 2005. In both instances, unvaccinated persons from Amish communities were the source of the outbreak.

Currently United States and other developed countries, poliomyelitis due to naturally occurring poliovirus has been eliminated by widespread immunization.
History of Poliomyelitis
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