The Late Effects of Polio
In 1955, when the Salk and Sabin vaccines brought an end to the annual summer nightmare of polio
epidemics, most Americans put thoughts of polio out of their minds. Once those who actually had polio regained maximum function
thru rigorous and extensive therapies, it was believed that the level of recovery would be permanent. However, in recent years,
many survivors have been reporting that their bodies are changing; and in many instances, their quality of life is being
adversely affected. The symptoms most frequently described are increased fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, respiratory difficulties
and intolerance to cold. These problems range from unpleasant to severely debilitating.
Polio survivors pushed themselves and their doctors to learn what was happening. The
result was the identification of late effects of polio, also called post-polio sequelae or post-polio syndrome.
Ohio Polio Network
In 1987, several local post-polio support groups in Ohio began to meet together to exchange program plans, membership
techniques and fund raising ideas. They soon realized they could work together to hold state-wide activities that each group
could not sponsor by itself. This led to the formation of the Ohio Polio Network (OPN) with polio survivors and interested
professionals on its board under the sponsorship of the Ohio Easter Seal Society, Inc. In 1993, the Ohio Easter Seal Society’s
Board voted to combine with the Local Easter Seal Chapter in the Cleveland area and surrounding counties.
The Ohio Polio Network became an independent organization on September
OPN’s activities include assistance with local support groups,
promotion of research into the effects of post-poliomyelitis, collection and dissemination of information, education
of individuals and concerned professionals, provision of a newsletter to members, organization and support of state conferences,
help with referrals to knowledgeable professionals, and the solicitation of funds for the accomplishment of these services.
OPN is the Ohio contact for Post-Polio Health International
(formerly GINI), an international network whose mission is to enhance the lives and independence of polio survivors
and home mechanical ventilator users by promoting education, networking, and advocacy among these individuals and healthcare