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News of Otsego County

Polio

STERNBERG: Polio, Part II
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Polio, Part II

Three weeks ago, this column covered the topic of polio, its cause, symptoms, complications, treatment, and prevention. Polio continues to be in the news, especially in New York, because there are indications that it is spreading geographically. Polio virus has been found in wastewater in Nassau County, Long Island.

Last Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency because of the increasing number of positive tests and the apparent spread outward from the initial location. The order is to better enable health care providers to fight the disease and prevent further outbreaks of paralysis.

Among other things it will require providers to send vaccination data to the state Department of Health to better track the total numbers around the state in order to direct the greatest efforts in those areas. The order also allows expanded authorization of who can administer the vaccine. During the emergency, midwives, pharmacists, and other licensed paraprofessionals can vaccinate.

Polio Rearing Its Ugly Head

Polio Rearing Its Ugly Head

By Richard Sternberg

First COVID-19. Then monkeypox. Now polio. Next, West Nile Virus. And always in the background in Central New York, Lyme disease. The pan-, epi-, and endemics of deadly and disabling diseases doesn’t seem to stop. This week I will try to tackle polio.

An iron lung sponsored by the March of Dimes helps a young boy with polio breath during the 1950s. (Photo by Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis via Getty Images)

There are very few people who will read this that remember how much polio terrorized people, especially mothers, in the first half of the 20th century. People become sick, develop muscle paralysis, develop severe weakness, and occasionally have respiratory muscle involvement, which could lead to the use of mechanical ventilation including, by what was called, an iron lung, and ultimately lead to death.

I myself remember my mother’s concerns and fears that I did not understand at the time. I had the misfortune of having to see an iron lung in use when I was a medical student, though for a different disease. It’s horrible to think of a person having to try and live their life in such a device. Truthfully that wasn’t much of a life at all.

A Local Polio Pioneer

Ellen Feury Levine, Polio Pioneer

A Local Polio Pioneer

In 1954, Ellen Feury Levine, of Cooperstown, became a pioneer. Ellen and the rest of her second grade class at Cooperstown Central School received shots in the first national tests of a trial polio vaccine.

Levine had joined the decades-long, national effort to defeat a virus that ravaged thousands and worried millions of Americans for decades.

Cooperstown Central School Joins Fight To Eradicate Polio

Cooperstown Central School 

Joins Fight To Eradicate Polio

David Peplinski's 6th grade class announced their public service project today; raising funds to help eradicate Polio. Tables will be set up in the entrance to the school where people can donate between 8-8:15am on school days, and 11am-12:30pm in the Cafeteria during lunch. The campaign will run from January 12-16 followed by a sister campaign in the high school the following week. Money raised through both schools will be pooled and turned over to the Cooperstown Rotary. Any donations collected will be tripled by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
With Purple pinkies and tee shirts, members of David Peplinski’s 6th grade class announced their public service project today; raising funds to help eradicate Polio. The class gave a presentation to the student body at CCS this afternoon with information on polio and the movement.
Collection tables will be set up at CCS between 8-8:15am  and 11am-12:30pm on schooldays. The campaign will run from January 12-16 followed by a sister campaign in the high school the following week. Money raised  will be pooled and turned over to the Cooperstown Rotary. Any donations received will be  matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. Each vaccination costs $1. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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