The history of polio, told as a cartoon

Here's a history of polio, Polio: A Virus's Struggle, that is both informative and entertaining...

(Via Boing Boing)


  1. My favorite part was at the beginning:
    "Diseases nearing eradication support group (Participants need not be to scale)." Good stuff, thanks for the link!


  2. The interesting part is that anti-vaccinists will claim that better sanitation is what beat polio back to begin with. They do not appear to realise that better sanitation did reduce the spread of polio but increased its virulence through less exposure to the organism (kind of an ironic twist). They frequently try to claim that the vaccine never did anything to affect polio because of this reason (even though they ignore data from 3rd world countries that obviously refutes this idea).

    For example, mentioned in the comic is the point that numerous areas were sprayed with DDT to try and stop the flies transmitting polio. Of course, this didn't work but several 'cranks' have since tried to prove that the DDT spraying (or other generic 'toxins', sounding familiar Orac?) was linked to the outbreaks of polio.

    Surprised that never came up in the comic actually because it would be a good contrast with the 'leeches' and other insane things (like flies transmitting polio ;)) that people thought.

  3. Actually, most anti-vaxers will concede that sanitation made polio worse. They just shift their argument to:

    -infected monkeys and SV40 causing cancer

    -denying polio was such a big deal since most people who got it didn't get sick

    -claiming polio cases still exist but have been replaced with aseptic meningitis (I'm sure polio survivors would've liked to have aseptic meningitis instead)

    -saying OPV is really, really bad since it causes paralysis (even though they also say polio isn't so bad)


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