Episode 43: Polio Vaccine

On April 12, 1955, the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective.

Here are three things you may not have known about the polio vaccine:

One: Dr. Jonas Salk became involved in the development of the vaccine because of the promise of increased research space, staffing and funding.

Two: The declaration that the vaccine was safe and effective was made exactly 10 years after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, who contracted polio at age 39.

Three: In 1988 there were 350,000 cases of polio reported worldwide. By 2013 that number had dropped to just 413 total cases. Currently the disease is circulating only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Our question: Polio is on course to be eradicated by 2018. What was the first infectious disease to be completely wiped out?

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