Lead: 1916 marked the beginning of a polio epidemic in the United States that would not end until 1955. It did so as one of the major medical success stories of the twentieth century.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Polio, poliomyelitis, also known as infantile paralysis, is a viral infection of the intestinal tract that sometimes can attack the central nervous system and lead to severe muscular paralysis. After the 1916 outbreak, the United States averaged 21,000 paralytic cases per year. During the 1930s and 1940s both private and government research was accelerated to try to find a cure for this dreaded disease. The National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis, now the March of Dimes, was inaugurated by FDR in 1938 for the purpose of raising money, one dime at a time, to fund polio research. Americans waited with not a great deal of patience for a breakthrough.

 

 

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