Opinion: Employing everyday public health efforts to respond to polio’s re-emergence

Ask most Americans to name a victim of polio and they’ll say President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ask me the name of a polio victim and I would offer two: my father’s older sister and his youngest brother.

My dad’s sister was a medical student in India when she died of polio in 1950. She contracted it from their younger brother, my uncle, who was five years old at the time and became permanently paralyzed in his right leg. I remember the first time I met my uncle at our family home in Chennai, India, and asked him what happened to his leg. I could not imagine facing such challenge, and was relieved to be told that I would not have to, because I had been vaccinated against polio as a baby.

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