Updated: March 26, 2020
Thoughts on Covid-19 for Polio Survivors
Prof. Michael Kossove
School of Health Sciences
The panic associated with Coronavirus brings back memories of the 1950’s, and the Polio epidemics where 50,000 people were paralyzed each year, and several hundred died. It’s impossible to predict how many people had the virus and didn’t know it. Had they been tested (there were no tests then), they would have tested positive. Oh, the panic in the summers associated with polio. You have to be a polio survivor, or a family member, to remember that time.
So, now we have the Coronavirus. We’ve always had the Coronavirus. Approximately 10% of the common colds are Corionavirus. This is a “Novel” Coronavirus, because it’s different. It’s a mutation. Influenza Virus mutates every year, millions get it, and thousands die. In our age, the ones that get it were not immunized, or if they were, had mild cases. So here we are again. A new virus, and no vaccine. By next winter, there will be one. While polio infected people in the warm weather, Coronavirus, unlike Flu, infects people in the late Fall, Winter, and early Spring.
We know that people over 60, with underlining conditions, are most vulnerable. That’s us. Yes, it can be scary. They talk about respiratory conditions, and diabetes. That covers many of us.
Let’s talk about this crazy virus. This disease is called a Novel Coronavirus. It was officially named COVID-19 on February 11, 2020, by the World Health Organization. The provisional name of the new virus stemmed from the year it was first seen (2019), the fact that it is new(n), and a member of the Coronavirus Family(CoV). It’s called corona because it is shaped like a crown.
Symptoms can include the same as a cold, such as a runny nose, fever, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms.
Bats are known to harbor a wide range of viruses including many that are highly pathogenic to humans. Bats can carry the virus without getting sick. Initial cases occurred in people who worked at or visited the Hunan seafood market in Wuhan, China, where a variety of wild animals were sold. China has a long tradition of eating wildlife, especially in Southern provinces, including bats. They hunt bats in caves, bring them to the market live, and bats shed excretia in the market.
It’s hard to say how long the virus can exist outside the body. On copper and steel it’s about 2 – 9 hours, cardboard or plastic longer.
Transmission can occur when a person touches a contaminated object or surface, then touches their mouth, eyes, and inside their nose, or by sneezing or coughing, sending the virus into the air.
What should I do to stay healthy?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Getting a flu shot is recommended.
If you have to shop, do it early morning or at supper time when there are fewer people in the store.
Stockpile essential items that you use daily.
Make sure you have enough medications to last you about a month.
Since polio survivors are seniors, with underlining conditions, especially respiratory, stay home. Read books, watch TV, walk or wheel around the outside of the house.
you do, there’s no need for panic. Epidemic does not mean Panic. It
tells us to take precautions
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Dr. Keith Roach.
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Click title above to read how attending a Post Polio Members Group meeting provided advice, assurance and guidance for a young boy afflicted with AFM.
"That meeting reassured me
and gave me such insight,"
"They all said polio didn't limit their success. They had careers. They had families. They made me see that Lucian will do those things, too."
Cick below for additional information
Final Michigan Polio Network Board of directors
Gwen Dyc-Schwendenmann, Carl Fenner, Bruce E. Sachs, Bonnie Levitan,
Laura Barbour, Diane L. Dych-Sachs, Vera Hazel, Timothy P. Brown, Rick Kugel,
Virginia Brown, Michael Scharl, Dan Matakas (left to right)
Mike W.R. Davis, Janice Gross, Roger Gross (bottom left to right)
More than 200 cases of polio-like illness under investigation; 80 confirmed
By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Updated 10:58 PM ET, Tue November 13, 2018
(CNN)There have been 80 confirmed cases of the polio-like illness known as AFM in 25 states this year as of Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
In addition, there are 139 cases under investigation for a total of 219 confirmed and suspected.
This is eight more confirmed cases than the agency reported last week and 20 additional patients under investigation.
The CDC noted an increase in reports of patients under investigation who began experiencing symptoms in August, September and October. It has not identified the 25 states with confirmed illnesses, nor has it said how many states are reporting cases under investigation.
AFM, or acute flaccid myelitis, is a rare illness that affects the nervous system, especially the gray matter in the spinal cord, and can cause muscle weakness and sudden onset of paralysis. Last month, the CDC said that 90% of patients since 2014 have been children under the age of 4, although adults can also develop AFM.
Other symptoms include drooping of the face or eyelids, difficult eye movement, trouble swallowing or slurred speech.
Research is underway to determine the cause of AFM, although there is a focus on enteroviruses, which can cause respiratory illness and West Nile virus, and other viruses in that family.
According to the CDC, there have been 404 confirmed cases in the United States since August 2014. The number of cases may be higher, but the condition is not subject to mandatory reporting, so not all cases are reported to state health departments and therefore may not be counted by the CDC.
"Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition. Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year," the CDC says.
AFM peaks every other year seasonally in late summer and fall. but experts have yet to identify a single factor geographically or otherwise to explain the cause. Also unknown: why some patients recover and others have prolonged effects.
This story has been updated to clarify the total number of AFM cases, how many are under investigation and how many are confirmed.
From Polio Perspectives, Vol 26, #4 2011
From Polio Perspectives, Vol 12 #2 1997
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