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A history of polio in Canada

Polio quietly preyed on thousands of young Canadians. The disease caused paralysis, deformed limbs and in the most severe cases, death by asphyxiation. In Canada, polio was so feared that as recently as the 1950s, it closed schools, emptied streets and banned children under 16 from entering churches and theatres. In 1955 it looked as though a miraculous polio vaccine signalled an end to new cases of the crippling disease. But a recent medical condition known as post-polio syndrome has survivors reliving the sequel to this once-forgotten nightmare.

media clip
A look back at the year 1953 when polio last stalked Canada.

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 7, 1993
Guest(s): John Alcock, Myrna Penner, Jonas Salk, Frank Shimata, David Steen
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Susan Reisler
Duration: 23:44

Last updated: January 29, 2015

Page consulted on January 29, 2015

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