What Are Some Interesting Facts About Polio?

interesting-polio Credit: AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images

Polio is a virus that formerly ravaged populations the world over in widespread epidemics, but has in modern times, been nearly eradicated. The virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route and primarily affects newborns and young children.

A visual symptom of the way polio attacks the body is by way of partial or total appendage paralysis, typically in the legs. Regardless, over 90 percent of people who carry the poliovirus show no symptoms of the disease. Polio is named after the Greek word for "gray," as in the gray matter of the central nervous system.

Hundreds of thousands of polio cases were reported annually until the first polio vaccines were developed and perfected during the 1950s. Since the vaccine's widespread adoption, polio cases have plummeted down to only several hundred reported cases worldwide. Unfortunately, an anti-vaccine culture and poor hygiene led to worldwide breakouts of the disease reported in May of 2014 by the World Health Organization.

According to the Disabled-World.com, one of the most famous faces of polio was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States. He contracted the illness at the age of 39, but it was largely hidden from the public view throughout his political career. Other well-known sufferers of polio to different degrees are author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke, musician Neil Young, actress Mia Farrow and golfer Jack Nicklaus.