He's Been Locked In This Machine For 70 Years (2023)


Let's learn about the man who's been locked in this machine for almost 70 years.
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- [Narrator] Could you imagine what it would be like to live your entire life, confined in a mechanical box.

One that's just big enough to fit your body into? What.

If you couldn't move, eat, or even breathe without it? Sounds like a waking nightmare, right? Well, for Paul Richard Alexander.

This isn't a bad dream.

But the stark reality of his life.

Since 1952, Paul has spent every waking moment trapped inside this machine.

But, how could this possibly happen? Well, to find out, let's? Take a look at the life of a man who's been locked inside a machine for almost 70 years.

To understand Paul's predicament.

First, we need to understand polio, the virus that Paul contracted at the age of just six.

Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a life-threatening disease that can infect a person's spinal cord.

In, severe cases.

This causes paralysis where sufferers can't move parts of their body and become incredibly weak.


Terrifying condition affects about one in every 200 sufferers, leaving many with progressive, muscle, weakness, irreversibly, withered limbs, and joint deformities.

Scary as it sounds.

These people are the lucky ones as paralysis.

This extreme can affect muscles to the point where sufferers can no longer walk, eat, or even breathe on their own and sadly.

This is where Paul comes in.

He got the virus in 1952 when the US and Europe were going through the worst polio epidemic on record.

In that year alone, more than 57,000.

People were infected in the US.

For perspective, that's about the same as the entire population of Greenland, although polio had been around for a long time before 1952 and could be traced back all the way to ancient Egypt.

Take, a look at this Egyptian stone tablet that was carved around 3,400 years, ago.

Notice, the man's, withered leg?, That's, a telltale symptom of polio.


It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that the invasive infection really started to cause problems., In, 1916, 36 years before Paul would catch polio.

Over 27,000 cases were reported in New, York, City, alone., And, sadly, at least 6,000 people didn't make it.

Widespread, panic gripped, the city with the governments urging families to quarantine inside their homes., Movie theaters, pools and amusement parks, all closed down and people fled to live in less populated areas.


This sound familiar at all? Even, though I'm getting vivid flashbacks of 2020, unlike the COVID epidemic.

It wasn't the elderly who were most vulnerable to catching polio.

But the children.

This is because the viruses sickeningly spread when the oh God, feces of an infected person is introduced to the mouth of a healthy person.

This can be through infected water or food, or from someone just not washing their hands.

And, considering young children rarely think to wash their hands before they go shoving them in anything.

They can grab into their mouths, it's, no surprise.

They were so badly.



If polio had been panicking the world since 1916, why was there still no cure by 1952 when Paul caught the disease? Well, medicine and science were a lot less advanced back then, and much of what we know today.

We'd still hadn't figured, out.

So without a solid answer for how to treat or protect against polio.

People turned to strange remedies that were often suggested by frauds trying to cash in on people's fear, but even legitimate, respected experts frequently suggested cures based on false reasoning., In 1916, leading biomedical inventor, John, Haven, Emerson, recommended, sufferers, take regular baths in almond meal.

And even insisted that electrocution of their lower extremities would help alleviate the symptoms.


If you think that sounds uncomfortable, other treatments include injecting lethal substances, straight into the patient's spine like adrenaline and even disinfectant.

It's similar to how President Trump suggested treating COVID.

But on a much more painful level.


Many of these so-called treatments actually made the condition.


In, 1916, Samuel, Meltzer, a respected, American, physiologist, championed, injecting adrenaline into the spines of ill children based on successful experiments he'd carried out on monkeys.

But the method turned out to be a complete failure with humans and sadly, out of the 105 children tested, 45 didn't make it through the process.

Those children.

Lucky enough not to befall this frightful fate often had their bodies covered in plaster casts or metal braces for weeks, months, or even years.

Though heavy and cumbersome, the casts and braces were vital to supporting polio weakened body, parts.


They helped the kids recover, being confined to these casts and having to spend weeks alone and paralyzed in the hospital was an understandably, scary, experience., One five-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the neck down recalled, a particularly terrifying encounter with a wasp.

Lying in his hospital bed and unable to move.

He suddenly heard of buzzing sound coming from the far side of the room.

He couldn't run away, or even move a sheet over his head.

He just had to watch as the wasp, buzzed closer and closer and closer.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom.

In 1928, hygienist, Philip, Drinker and physiologist.

Lewis Shaw teamed up at Harvard University to form a polio, fighting supergroup.


They created the first machine to effectively treat the most severely effected polio sufferers, or at least keep them alive long enough to recover.

You see, in the worst cases of polio like Paul Alexander's.

Patients would be paralyzed to such a degree that they couldn't even use their lungs, but Drinker and Shaw's device, inflated and deflated, polio, sufferers lungs for them.

The first machine.

They made used two vacuum cleaners, powered by an electric motor to suck air out of a sealed metal box that was just big enough for one patient.

This lowered the air pressure, inside, forcing, the patient's chest cavity to expand to fill the vacuum and flooding their lungs with air.


The vacuum cleaners were reversed, pumping air back into the box.

And raising the air pressure, forcing the lungs to deflate and push the air back out.

This miraculous machine was called a Drinker respirator.

But it was more simply known as an iron lung.


Some tweaks, the original design was improved by using a set of bellows.

Instead of vacuum, cleaners.

Drinker also experimented with a concept of a multiperson ventilator by turning an entire room into one large iron lung.

It could hold up to four patients and had enough room inside for a nurse to move around and take care of the children.

Later in 1931, John, Haven, Emerson, yup, the same man who recommended electrocution and bathing in almond meal to cure the disease surprisingly made improvements to the iron lung.

Emerson's machine was quieter, more efficient and cheaper at just $1,000.

That was less than half the cost of a Drinker respirator.

But it was still a lot of money, costing roughly $17,500 today.


They were so expensive, hospitals had trouble buying enough iron lungs to support the sheer number of children affected by the virus.

Some hospitals were forced to make their own improvised machines like this one from the 1940s, which as you can see, had bellows that were pumped by hand.

Looks more like a torture device than a medical one.

If you ask me., A handful of generous, people did their best to help out though., Take, Sir, William, Morris, for example, an English car manufacturer who also happens to be the most British brit I think I've ever seen.

In 1938.

He promised to manufacture and donate as many iron lungs as he could to any hospital that asked for them.

In total.

He donated over 5,000 machines.

That's about $95 million worth of equipment in today's money.

What, a gentleman.

But now it's time to jump ahead to 1952, the year.

The most cases of polio were ever recorded in the US.

As, thousands of children were being sent to hospitals with a deadly disease.

Six-Year-Old Paul Alexander was outside his home in Dallas, Texas playing happily in the summer rain.

One second.

Everything was perfectly fine.

The next.

He began to feel sick and ran inside to complain to his mother of head and neck pains., Within, seconds, Paul's mother recognized that telltale fever symptoms of early stage polio and rushed her son to bed.

The family doctor was called out.

But because of the hospitals were overcrowded with other polio patients, he recommended Paul stay at home despite his worsening condition.

After, just five days, though.

The boy had deteriorated to the point that his parents had to take him into the hospital, despite their doctor's advice.


This time, Paul could hardly hold a crayon and was so weak that he couldn't even cough to clear his lungs.

When, a doctor.

Finally, examined him.

He devastatingly told Paul's parents that nothing could be done, but thankfully, a second doctor thought, differently.


This doctor performed an emergency tracheotomy on Paul, creating a small hole in his throat.

And using a tube, sucked out all the congestion from his lungs.

When, Paul eventually, woke up.

He was still unable to move, but his body was confusingly encased in a loud, machine.

At first.

He though he was in some sort of strange dream.

But he soon learned he'd been confined to an iron lung.


He beaten the initial infection.

Polio had left him permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

So for the next 18 months.

This is where he would stay.

The hospital ward was full of children.

Just like him.

But as the months passed, Paul saw more and more of them slowly, recover or more often than not, pass away.

He, however, remained unchanged, glued to his bed with the machine breathing for him.

To help overcome his inability to breathe.


The doctors spent time teaching Paul to frog breathe.

And no.

This doesn't mean, Paul learned how to breathe underwater, rather frog breathing is a technique that involves sucking in a mouth full of air.

Then raising your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

This movement, pushes air down your throat, forcing it into your lungs.

Without, practice, it's, very difficult, especially for a small child.

Go on, give it a try now if you don't believe me., Finding, it difficult, maybe you can accomplish something a little easier, like hitting those like and subscribe buttons down, below., All, done, awesome., Now, where were we? Although.

He hated doing the breathing exercise, through sheer willpower and perseverance, Paul mastered frog breathing by the age of just eight.

This allowed him to breathe outside of the iron lung by himself for the first time.

In nearly two years.

Finally, Paul had some of his independence back.

And, even though he still needed to sleep in the iron lung every night.

He felt alive again.

Determined to accomplish his goals.

Despite his affliction, Paul adapted to his new life.

A mirror was fixed to the top of his machine.

So that he could look around the room without craning.

His neck.

His father made him a special stick.

He could hold with his mouth and use to play with toys.

He also learned how to paint and write with a paint brush or a pencil in his mouth.

But as Paul grew older.

He knew he had to get an education to succeed in life.

Because even though his body was paralyzed.

His mind was still sharp as a knife.


The age of 21, Paul, unbelievably became the first person to graduate from a Dallas high school without physically attending any lessons.

Not only that.

But he graduated at the top of his class.

Wow, all that, and he didn't even have access to Zoom, what's, your excuse? After completing high school with flying colors, Paul then applied to Dallas's Southern, Methodist University, but they wouldn't accept him, deeming him, too disabled to study.

Paul was understandably furious.

But it would take more than that to make him give up.

He called the university, countless times and fought tooth and nail for a course placement for two long, years.

Eventually, the university caved, and he was accepted to study economics and finance.

After overcoming that hurdle.

He began to dream bigger and successfully transferred over to the University of Texas.


His old college, Paul had been living at home, but to the horror of his parents.

He was now moving out to live on the campus, full time.

It can't have been easy getting the massive 660 pound iron lung into his new dorm room.

But not even that challenge could stop Paul.


He probably didn't help with transporting it, but give the guy, a break.

After, seven long, years, Paul, graduated from the University of Texas in 1978.

But even that wasn't enough for him.

As soon as he finished one degree, he decided to dive right into another and not just any other.

But one of the toughest degrees available at the time, law.

Despite, his professors telling him, he would never pass, in 1984, a full 17 years after he graduated high school, Paul got his law, degree.

Two years later against all odds.

He kickstarted a successful career as a lawyer, smashing through every obstacle in his way.

Now that's, what you call a success story and it doesn't stop there.

In, July, 2022, Paul, Richard Alexander will have been reliant on his iron lung for an astonishing.

70 years.

At, the grand old age of 76, he's.

Once again, confined to the machine full time.

From here.

He eats, drinks, sleeps and even works, but he refuses to let the situation get him down to the point where he's become a global inspiration.

In 2014.

He was honored to be accepted into the rotary club, a global service organization who are working on projects to help end polio once and for all.

- And congratulate you on choosing to serve alongside us.

- [Narrator] As happy as he looks.

His life does come with its fair share of challenges.

The machine.

Paul now resides in is actually refurbished because his original machine began to fail back in 2015.

Spare parts have been out of production for decades because no one expected that someone who needed an iron lung would ever live as long as Paul has.

But fortunately, Paul has an amazing friend who helped him post this video on YouTube, asking for help.


One heroic engineer came to the rescue and supplied Paul with everything he needed to keep on living his best life.

Since, then, Paul has amazingly gone on to achieve even more.

While working as a lawyer.

He recently, finished an eight year long venture to write his memoir called Three Minutes for a Dog, which was released in 2020.

But what's, even more amazing is that he typed out the whole thing by using a rod in his mouth to tap away at his keyboard.


Incredible is that?.

Although Paul is the only person to kick polio's butt and lived to tell the tale, more famously America's 32nd, president Franklin, D Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921.

When he was 39 years, old.

He was unable to walk without the use of braces or crutches, and sometimes used a wheelchair to get around.

Much like Paul, Alexander though.

He didn't let his disability.

Stop him.

He was elected in 1933 and is the only US president to have served more than two full terms in office.

And he didn't let that time go to waste.

In 1938.

He spearheaded America's movement to fight back against polio by founding the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

And by doing this.

He actually helped develop the world's first polio, vaccine., Using, his presidential power, Roosevelt appealed to the public for donations to research.

A polio vaccine.

Then, famous TV personality, Eddie Cantor, jokingly told the nation to send just one dime each to the White House to help the cause.

To Roosevelt's surprise.

The White House was then flooded with mail.

And they received a whopping 2,680,000 dimes.

That's over $5 million in today's money, which Cantor cleverly coined the March of Dimes.

But for all of this money.

Nobody seemed to be able to get any closer to producing the fabled polio, vaccine., Years passed.

The second World War came and went, the Cold War began.

And yet every year, polio remained a constant threat.

But the March of Dimes kept going, raising more and more money to find a vaccine with every year that passed.

People were so determined to beat the deadly virus that one fundraiser by the name of Mr.

O'connor tirelessly raised half a billion dimes for the cause.


So many dimes that if you lined them up, you would have to walk, swim, and climb the entire circumference of the earth two and a quarter times before you ran out.

That's exhausting just to think about.

But when 1952 rolled around and the world was in the midst of the worst polio epidemic ever recorded.

People were fed up.

Donation after donation had been made for the last 14 years and still no cure had been found, but that's when Jonas Salk walked into the picture.

He'd been leading research on the March of Dimes ever since 1949.

But in 1952, he had a major breakthrough.

While conducting tests on monkeys.

He found that those he had injected with a new formula were suddenly immune to the virus.


No time, Salk started testing his vaccine on a group of 43 children.

And after this went well, in 1953, he vaccinated his own children.


He was obviously pretty confident in himself.


The vaccine came just a few months too late to help poor Paul Alexander.

But it did go on to save countless lives., In, 1954, Salk, rolled out.

The biggest vaccine test of all.

Huge field trials were held across the US involving the vaccination of 1.8 million school children against the deadly disease.

These children were known as the polio pioneers and became a beacon of hope for the whole world.

On, April, 12th, 1955.

The results were announced, and it was revealed to worldwide praise that the vaccine was safe and effective.

After decades of research, millions of dollars and countless lives lost.

The end of polio was finally in sight.

People queued in roads, to get vaccinated, and what's more, Salk's vaccine was then improved upon by researcher, Albert Sabin., By 1961, an oral version of the vaccine was put into circulation that just needed to be squirted onto a spoon, making it easier than ever to administer.

The results were astonishing.


The two years before the vaccine was widely available.

The average number of polio cases in the US was over 45,000.

By 1962, that number had dropped to just 910.

And by 1979, it had been eradicated completely.

As of October, 7th, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were just 441 cases of polio worldwide.


The impact of this vile virus is still felt across the globe.

It's estimated that there are 300,000 polio survivors living in the US alone and about 10 to 20 million survivors, worldwide., Iron lungs, went out of production long ago as the world got vaccinated.

But Paul Alexander is one of the very few still in tuned by the bulking machines.

For him.

And so many others, polio has been a tough life-changing disease.

But Paul's story stands as a testament, proving that no matter how many hardships might come your way.

You can always overcome them if you have the determination to do so.

Well, have you been inspired by Paul's, amazing story and how well do you think you'd cope inside an iron lung?, Personally, I, don't think I'd last five minutes.

But let me know in the comments below and thanks for watching.

(upbeat music).


Is the man in the iron lung still alive 2023? ›

Since Alexander was paralyzed from the neck down, his diaphragm was unable to function. To fix this, the doctors encased him in an iron lung – a ventilator that helps him breathe. Alexander is actually one of the last people alive in the world today still inside an iron lung.

Who was locked in a machine for 70 years? ›

Today, at the age of 77, Paul Alexander is the longest iron lung patient ever. Paul has been using his negative-pressure ventilator for 70 years, and currently spends most of his day inside the machine in his house.

Is the last polio survivor still alive? ›

Paul Richard Alexander (born January 10, 1946) is an American lawyer from Dallas and paralytic polio survivor. He is notably one of the last people living in an iron lung after he contracted polio in 1952 at the age of six. Dallas, Texas, U.S.

Is the iron lung Man still alive? ›

The machine was common during the polio epidemic, and Paul Alexander is one of the last people to be in one. The iron lung works to change the air pressure and stimulate breathing. It has been the home of 76-year-old Alexander, keeping him alive for 70 years.

How does someone in an iron lung go to the bathroom? ›

How the patients would use the bathroom? The front part of the iron lung where the patient's head comes out attaches to the “tin can” and can be unbuckled and pulled out, thus exposing the patient's body on the bed. He is lifted up by a nurse and a bedpan is slid under him.

Can Paul come out of the iron lung? ›

Once he could breathe reliably for long enough, he could get out of the lung for short periods of time, first out on the porch, and then into the yard. Although he still needed to sleep in the iron lung every night – he couldn't breathe when he was unconscious – Paul didn't stop at the yard.

What replaced the iron lung? ›

But for patients dependent on them to breathe, the old iron lungs were gradually replaced with modern ventilators. Ventilators are used today in intensive care units and emergency wards rather than for polio victims. The patient no longer needs to be encased neck to toe in a coffin-like box.

How do you eat in an iron lung? ›

You can eat in the iron lung because your head is outside but the rest of your body is inside, although since you are flat on your back you really need to be careful when you swallow; you have to swallow in rhythm with the machine because it's pulling your diaphragm in and then pushing it out again.

How many iron lungs are left? ›

Today it's two. Martha Lillard and Paul Alexander are the last known Americans still using the giant metal tanks to help them breathe. According to the Guardian, the last person in the United Kingdom that used an iron lung died in 2017.

Did anyone ever get out of an iron lung? ›

Defeating Polio, The Disease That Paralyzed America. Sixty-eight years later, an iron lung is still keeping Lillard alive — she sleeps in it every night. While many people who had polio or post-polio syndrome either weaned themselves off the machines or switched to another form of ventilator, Lillard never did.

Why are iron lungs no longer used? ›

Widespread vaccinations began in 1955 and by 1979 the virus had been completely eliminated in the United States. Because of this, and the development of modern ventilators, and the widespread use of tracheal intubation and tracheotomy, the iron lung has mostly disappeared from modern medicine.

What illness was iron lung? ›

An iron lung, a medical device used to treat polio patients, became one of the most iconic objects of the polio epidemic. In 1931, John Haven Emerson, designed and invented the Emerson Respirator, an improvement over the Drinker model developed in 1928.

How long do polio survivors live? ›

People who recover from the initial attack of polio often live for years without further signs or symptoms.

What is the longest time someone has been on the iron lung? ›

The longest period for a person to make daily use of a negative-pressure ventilator (or "iron lung") is 70 years, set by Paul Alexander of Texas, USA, who was placed in an iron lung in July 1952 after being paralyzed by polio.

How long did polio patients stay in iron lung? ›

Polio epidemic

A polio patient with a paralyzed diaphragm would typically spend two weeks inside an iron lung while recovering.

Why does Paul Alexander still need an iron lung? ›

Paul Alexander still uses an iron lung because he prefers the more natural breathing provided by the iron lung over modern-day ventilators, which use positive pressure to force air into the lungs. Additionally, he finds that iron lungs put less pressure on his airways and can be healthier for polio patients over time.

How long does it take to finish iron lung? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, Iron Lung is about 1 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 1½ Hours to obtain 100% completion.

How much do iron lungs cost? ›

The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis began mass distribution of tank respirators in 1939. In the 1930s, an iron lung cost about $1,500—the average price of a home.

Is iron lung better than a ventilator? ›

To conclude, iron lung ventilation was found to be as effective as conventional mechanical ventilation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients with acute on chronic respiratory failure in improving gas exchange and was associated with a trend towards a lower rate of major complications.

How big is the iron lung? ›

Storage: 200 MB available space.

How did people get iron lung? ›

The iron lung was born in 1927, when Philip Drinker and Louis Agassiz Shaw at Harvard University devised a machine that could maintain respiration, pulling air into and out of the lungs by changing the pressure in an airtight metal box. It was powered by an electric motor with two vacuum cleaners.

Are there creatures in iron lung? ›

The Monster is the main antagonist of Iron Lung. It lives in the blood ocean of the moon AT-5, and hunts down the player throughout the game.

Can you finish iron lung? ›

I feel like most people are gonna finish Iron Lung exactly once, and that's for the best. A significant amount of the experience is made possible thanks to the opaque iron curtain drawn around you, and that gets pulled back a bit once you've seen the game through to its conclusion.

How many polio survivors are still alive? ›

Over 12 million people, worldwide have been affected by polio as indicated by the CDC. There is no central system for reporting post-polio syndrome, but it is estimated that 300,000 individuals are survivors of polio in the United States and have mild to severe symptoms.

Who is the oldest polio survivor? ›

Marguerite Scarry, who is still going strong at the age of 99, is currently the oldest living polio survivor in the world. Scarry's story was brought to our attention when her great-niece, Patricia Spencer, sent us an email and included newspaper clippings about Scarry's miraculous story.

Who was the lady in the iron lung? ›

June Margaret Middleton (4 May 1926 – 30 October 2009) was an Australian polio victim who spent more than 60 years living in an iron lung for treatment of the disease. In 2006, Guinness World Records recognised her as the person who had spent the longest amount of time living in an iron lung.

What is frog breathing technique? ›

Glossopharyngeal breathing (GPB), also called “frog breathing”, is a positive pressure breathing technique that uses muscles of the mouth and pharynx to propel small volumes of air (“gulps”) into the lungs.

Can you run out of oxygen in iron lung game? ›

The oxygen levels on the Iron Lung are scripted, rather than being time based, meaning it is technically impossible for the player to actually suffocate in the Iron Lung.

Is polio curable now? ›

No, there is no cure for polio. Polio vaccine is the best way to protect against polio. Safe and effective vaccines exist: the oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), the only vaccine used in the United States since 2000.

What caused polio? ›

Polio is caused by 1 of 3 types of the poliovirus. It often spreads due to contact with infected feces. This often happens from poor handwashing. It can also happen from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

How long did kids live in iron lung? ›

Although the patient could breathe in the machine, he could do little else besides look up at a mirror reflecting the room behind him (upside-down and backwards, of course). Typically, the children would spend two weeks inside while recovering.

Who is the longest living polio survivor? ›

Marguerite Scarry, who is still going strong at the age of 99, is currently the oldest living polio survivor in the world. Scarry's story was brought to our attention when her great-niece, Patricia Spencer, sent us an email and included newspaper clippings about Scarry's miraculous story.

Can a polio survivor get polio again? ›

Only a polio survivor can develop PPS yet not everyone who survives polio will develop PPS. The polio vaccine has essentially eradicated polio from the U.S. However, polio still exists in some countries and cases of PPS still arise. Symptoms include: Slowly progressive muscle weakness.

Can polio come back in old age? ›

The theory that the polio virus may lie dormant in your body, causing post-polio syndrome when it becomes reactivated at a later stage, has not been proven. It's not clear why only some people who have had polio develop post-polio syndrome.

Why do polio survivors need iron lungs? ›

At the peak of the scourge, iron lungs were an absolute necessity for those who suffered paralysis of the diaphragm. The medical device allowed them to breathe by creating negative pressure through a vacuum, which forced the lungs to expand.

What famous person died from polio? ›

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)

He died 10 years to the day before the first polio vaccine was licensed in the U.S. The irony was that Roosevelt was a tireless advocate of the polio vaccine program, starting a program known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became the March of Dimes.

Does the polio vaccine last a lifetime? ›

Other adults who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated should talk with their doctor to understand their risk for polio and need for polio vaccination. Adults who completed their polio vaccination but who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus may receive one lifetime IPV booster.

What does polio do to legs? ›

In less than 1% of cases, polio causes permanent paralysis of the arms, legs or breathing muscles. Between 5% and 10% of people who develop paralytic polio will die. Physical symptoms may emerge 15 years or more after the first polio infection.

How do I know if I've had polio vaccine? ›

If you're not sure whether you received your polio shots, your state's immunization registry may have a copy of your records. The CDC also advises contacting doctors you saw during childhood or schools you attended or to find out.

How old are most polio victims? ›

Key facts. Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under 5 years of age. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

Which singer had polio? ›

Singer-songwriter Neil Young contracted polio during an epidemic in the summer of 1951.

Where did polio come from? ›

The first epidemics appeared in the form of outbreaks of at least 14 cases near Oslo, Norway, in 1868 and of 13 cases in northern Sweden in 1881. About the same time, the idea began to be suggested that the hitherto sporadic cases of infantile paralysis might be contagious.

When did they stop giving the polio vaccine? ›

The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is a weakened live vaccine that is still used in many parts of the world, but hasn't been used in the United States since 2000.

Can you get polio from a vaccinated person? ›

People with certain immune problems can catch the disease from a child who has recently been vaccinated with oral polio vaccine.

Was I vaccinated against polio? ›

Since there's no national vaccine registry in the United States, verifying whether or not you were vaccinated against polio is tricky. Checking with your pediatrician's office or your state's vaccine registry is a good place to start.

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