Medicine: Polio Scare

In the misshapen ranks of the world's diseases, poliomyelitis is only an infant-sized killer compared with a giant like malaria. As a disabler, it stands well below mental illness. But polio is the disease most feared by U.S. mothers, for it strikes with cruel suddenness, and (though the proportion of older victims is increasing in many parts of the world) its victims are still mostly children.

This looked like a bad year for mothers. Since Jan. 1, there have been 2,881-cases of polio in the U.S. By the same date in 1946 (the year when the U.S. had the largest number of...

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