Reflections: Infantile paralysis strikes


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



It seems when I am searching for material for this column, news stories on widespread illnesses keep popping up. This week I found a story from 76 years ago, June, 1944, when polio, infantile paralysis, was striking young and old.

The Morrow County Health Commissioner, Dr. F. M. Hartsook, issued a list of precautions to be observed to avoid the illness which was expected to reach its peak in late summer and early fall. Although there was no known cure then (later Dr. Jonas Salk came along with the Salk polio vaccine), Dr. Hartsook issued the following guide lines:

Avoid overacting and extreme fatigue from strenuous exercise, avoid sudden chilling, such as would come from a plunge into extremely cold water on a very hot day; careful attention should be paid to personal cleanliness such as thorough washing of hands before eating, use the purest milk and water you can, keep flies from food.

While the exact means of spread of the disease is not known, contaminated water and milk are always dangerous and flies have been known to carry the infantile paralysis virus; do not swim in polluted water; help keep yur community sanitation at a high level at all times and avoid all unnecessary contact with persons with any illness suspicious of infantile paralysis.

All children and adults sick with unexplained fever should be put to bed and isolated pending medical diagnosis.

There were polio epidemics in earlier years and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with the disease at the age of 39 in 1921. Polio epidemics occurred n 1893 with the disease becoming prevalent during the ensuing years until a vaccine was discovered in 1955.

The drop-off in cases continued and thanks to medical science cases are rare today.

I recall. though, as a grade school student in 1944, three students became ill with infantile paralysis and a young mother died as a result of contracting the disease. I am thankful that medical science has done much to eradicate polio.

Looking back

June, 1944: Deeds for two business blocks east of the square in Cardington, were transferred. J. M. Stone purchased the two-story cement block building in which the Kroger Store and Casey’s Cafe were located. Casey’s Cafe became Stone’s Drug Store and today is the Cardington Market. The building was purchased from J. C. Underwood.

During that same time, H. B. Fleming and Henry Poorman purchased the Beatty and Chase Block from the Underwood heirs and F. H. Chase. Located in that building then were the Koon’s Grocery Store and Poorman Shoe Repair Shop. Today, a vacant building sets on that lot.

June, 1950: Walter E. Long was named vice chairman of the Route 42 Association. The organization’s objective was to make U. S. Route 42 a four-lane highway from Medina to Delaware.

Lois and Devonia Betts, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Betts, underwent tonsillectomies in the office of Dr. Lowell Murphy.

JoAnn Westbrook was chosen to represent Cardington High School in the coming 100th Morrow County Fair as a candidate for fair queen.

The lucky girl was selected would be the first queen to reign over the exposition in the fair’s 100 years.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

Reach us at mcsnews@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach us at mcsnews@aimmediamidwest.com.