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Polio Risk On the Rise

Author(s): James P. Denk, MA

US Polio Facts and Timeline

  • In 1916, a polio epidemic killed 6,000 people in the US, and paralyzed 27,000 more.
  • More than 25,000 polio cases were reported in the US each year as recently as the early 1950s.
  • A national polio vaccination campaign began in 1955.
  • By the 1960s, annual cases dropped to about 3,000.
  • The US was declared polio-free in 1979.
  • Globally, four regions are certified polio free: the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia; Western Pacific.