Reliving Polio

Forty years after the great postwar epidemic, the disease is coming back to haunt its survivors

Roberta Simon was eight years old when poliomyelitis paralyzed her from the neck down. She spent three months on her back in a Washington hospital and then began a long series of treatments and exercises that slowly, painfully restored full mobility to her limbs. Like many brave polio victims, she pushed herself hard. She was a majorette in junior high school, went to college and eventually became a surgical nurse in a Chicago-area hospital, working long hours on her feet in the operating room. "I was out there doing my thing," she says. "I thought I was over polio."

She was...

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