Sunday, September 24

The prolonged duration of post-polio syndrome and my grandfather’s involvement in it for decades.

Pria Anand’s grandfather, Ravi Prakash, is shown in a photo from his early years.

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In the 14th century B.C., the first known victim of polio died during the 18th-century Egyptian dynasty. The Stele of Roma the Doorkeeper depicts him leaning against a tall staff with an olive tree and displaying how his left leg was muscular and his right knee was shrunken. His right foot is restrained like that of any ballerina posing on the ground.

A man in Rockland County, N.Y., arrived at a hospital in summer 2022 with limp legs and aching neck, while his abdomen was painfully distended. He had been left paralyzed by poliovirus, which had caused extensive damage to Roma’s spinal cord. Four children in Israel tested positive for polothis year, and the virus had also been detected in wastewater from Europe and Africa. This global reemergence seemed to be the result of ephemeral pandemic: covid-1919, an experimental method; and four children have been reported back to this


The absence of crucial vaccines in tens of millions of children’s lifetimes is a direct result of widespread epidemic lockdowns, under-resourced public health infrastructure, and growing distrust of vaccinations.

Polio has a hidden range.

Polio is a disease that most people do not have any symptoms of. About 1 in 4 individuals will experience mild symptoms, similar to catching shingles or colds. Around 1 to 5 in 100 will also experience meningitis, neck pain, and fever. Just 1 out of every 200 polio patients will develop paralytic Polo, which affects the brain and spinal cord.

Polio is a persistent and unforgiving disease that persists for long periods, with many individuals who recover from it experiencing the aftermath of relapse as if not for years. This phenomenon is known as post-polio syndrome, which follows tens of millions of lives lost to poliO epidemics worldwide.


My grandfather had polio for years before I ever thought of it. As a medical student, he was in his 90s and experiencing withdrawal symptoms that were barely noticeable until my grandmother started sleeping on the sofa due to her insomnia.

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Modern breathing machines, such as the iron lung and ventilator, were created to combat the effects of polio epidemics. However, my grandfather, Ravi Prakash, expressed his disinterest in intensive care after experiencing breath-gasping during sleep.

During my final year of medical school that summer, I was still uncertain about the type of doctor I would choose. Upon arriving in India, while visiting my grandfather, who was extremely frail and covered in a cloth gown, we were led to the neurologist’s office.

The neurologist examined my grandfather’s left leg and observed the twitching of its fasciculations, which were sudden and dysrhythmic, similar to the movements of a snake in sack. They explained that fascicular contractions are disoriented gasps caused by dying muscle fibers, contracting without directional signals.


By examining my grandfather’s leg, the neurologist could ascertain his history and predict his future. He had been raised in a rural area without underground sanitation and had suffered from polio since childhood. Over time, his cough would become so weak that it would lead to severe pain and an urge to eat.

Polio was a difficult illness for my grandfather when he was younger, but his case is not unusual. India contributed 85 percent of the world’s polio until the early 2000s, and thanks to widespread vaccination, no new cases of polo have been reported in India in over 12 years. The sad fact is that paralytic Polo is preventable in the 21st century.

My grandfather passed away on Feb. 14, 2016, at the age of 93, and his death was not a tragedy for him. He had loved one and been exhausted during his lifetime. Three years earlier, my grandfather wrote his autobiography, Ravi Prakash, in which he described how aging had made life difficult due to its lack of familiarity with certain things.

Polio was not eradicated in the United States or India until my grandfather witnessed its sequencing and development of the first polio vaccine. He also believed that polo would be permanently banished to the dustbin of history. However, he will remain vigilant and prevent any future events with it.

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