Friday, March 9, 2012
Polio - a miscellany
Polio in comic book form
The story of Polio in comic book form. by James Weldon, a journalism student at the University of British Columbia. Learn the full story from the polio virus itself as it tells all in a group therapy session for 'diseases nearing extinction' with smallpox, guinea worm and leprosy. Lots of little jokes in here and a surprising amount of information.
When people are nostalgic for the 'simpler' times of the 1950's (after the war but before the turbulence of the sixties) they usually conveniently forget about horrors such as polio and iron lungs. These days many people probably only think of an iron lung as a Radiohead song, and even then many people miss the metaphor - something that keeps you alive but becomes very restrictive.
I am amazed by people who have lived their whole lives in them but have remained cheerful and happy. As well as the story about John Prestwich there is also the story of Martha Mason who has lived in an iron lung for over 60 years.
(A)s one of the few surviving people left who live their lives encased in an iron tank, she said she intends to continue as she always has -- making the most out of what life has offered her.
"Get as much joy from life for yourself and others as you can squeeze out of it," she said.
Polio eradication - is it worth it?
Check out this New York Times article about Polio eradication that contains some interesting comments about Bill Gates funding for the initiative in particular:
The effort has now cost $9 billion, and each year consumes another $1 billion. By contrast, the 14-year drive to wipe out smallpox cost only $500 million in today’s dollars.
“Bill Gates’s obsession with polio is distorting priorities in other ... areas. Global health does not depend on polio eradication.”
Bin Laden vaccination Ruse
There's a fairly factual report in the New York Times, Vaccination Ruse Used in Pursuit of Bin Laden, but they miss the serious implications of this that are discussed in this post at Wired, File Under WTF: Did the CIA Fake a Vaccination Campaign?
This is awful. It plays, so precisely that it might have been scripted, into the most paranoid conspiracy theories about vaccines: that they are pointless, poisonous, covert shields for nefarious government agendas meant to do children harm.