Welcome to a “This Day in History” edition of our blog! Every evening, since I was just a kid, I have tuned in to watch Jeopardy on TV. Maybe it’s because I’m a big geek… or maybe I just like to torture myself since trivia has never been my forte. Today, I woke up feeling dedicated to learning something new… random facts that may one day help me “make it a true daily double”.
So here it goes…
On this Day in History
Did you know that on this day (February 23) in 1954, a group of children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, helped make history by being the first inoculated with the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk? The children participating in this large clinical trial, involving 1.8 million children, were first, second and third grade students attending local public and private schools.
By 1955, four million inoculations had been administered; the clinical trials were the largest ever conducted. Approximately 65% of the people who received the vaccine were protected against poliovirus type 1, 90% against type 2, and 94% against type 3, largely preventing further polio epidemics.
More on Polio
In the late 1940s to the early 1950s, polio crippled an average of more than 35,000 people in the United States each year. It was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century; parents were frightened to let their children go outside, especially in the summer when the virus seemed to peak. Travel and commerce between affected cities were sometimes restricted. Public health officials imposed quarantines (used to separate and restrict the movement of well people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become ill) on homes and towns where polio cases were diagnosed.
Making a Difference
According to the Centers for disease control and prevention, the United States has been polio-free since 1979 thanks to effective vaccine.
Groundbreaking scientific advances are possible only because of the participation of clinical research volunteers. Research volunteers are our heroes!