Polio: Children

children polio
Figure 1.--Here we see an unidentified American family with a severely handicapped son. We believe he has been aflicted with polio. These types of images are exceptionally rare as most often these sweet children were hidden away out of shame. This little boy clearly cannot walk as he has baby booties on his feet. This portrait has a Kruxo back. It looks to have been taken in the 1910s. A reader writes, "To me this boy looks more like being affected with spastic/cerebral paralysis."

A disease particularly associated with children is polio. Ironically in an age making great strides in science and medecine, it was a disease that seemed to appear at the turn-of-the 20th century. For many in such an optimistic age, it seems inconceivable that a seemingly new disease would strike the most advance socities in the world. Americans and Europeans were acustomed to reading about dread diseases in Africa and Asia, not in their own neigbothoods. It had a huge impact on children in Europe and North America and it seemed to be getting worse and worse. This and its randomness made it an especially feared disease. Polio (poliomyelitis) is a disease modern children have thankfully probably never even heard about. It is certainly one their grandparents know all too well. Not only did many children die, but the twisted bodies of the innocent suvivors were one of the horrors of the 20th century. Children were not the onlyindiiduals affected, but they were by far the most numerous and the individuals who wrenched the public consciousness.


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Created: 6:19 AM 2/10/2009
Last updated: 6:19 AM 2/10/2009