In the early 20th century, few diseases were more dreaded, than the crippling infantile paralysis disease, called polio.
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases, there is severe muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move and paralysis. Paralysis can occur in just a few hours to a few days. Death and long term disability usually resulted. Even for those who recovered, some life long disability was the unfortunate prevalent outcome.
The first successful demonstration of a polio vaccine came in 1950, with the use of a microscopic amount of the live virus, which people drank. This vaccine would not be approved for use in the United States.
In 1955, an inactivated polio vaccine, developed by Jonas Salk.
In 1961, the first widely used oral polio vaccine for commercial use was developed by Albert Sabin.
DEADLY POLIO OUTBREAK IN BAHAMAS 1946
MEDICAL PASSPORT REQUIRED TO ENTER BAHAMAS FROM POLIO AFFECTED AREAS
(The Miami News, Saturdays 08 June, 1946)
In 1946, in response to a polio outbreak on New Providence, a mandatory 14 day quarantine was enacted for all foreign travelers from Florida and Cuba under the age of 18 years old. The ban was quickly extended to all travellers, from Florida and Cuba, regardless of age.
JUNE 8, 1946 – FLORIDA HEALTH OFFICIALS REFUSE TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY AS OUTBREAK OF POLIO GROWS WITHIN BLCK AND WHITE COMMUNITIES.
NORTH CAROLINA AND BAHAMAS ISSUE QUARANTINE BANS ON ALL CHILDREN COMING FROM FLORIDA.
FLORIDA OFFICIALS UPSET BY BAN.
(The Miami News, Saturdays 08 June, 1946)
June 8, 1946 – BAHAMAS BANS ALL PERSONS 18 YEARS AND UNDER FROM FLORIDA IN AN ATTEMPT TO STOP POLIO EPIDEMIC
(Fort Lauderdale News, Saturday, 08 June 1946)
June 22, 1946 – CRUISE SHIPS BANNED
ALL CRUISE SHIPS FROM ANY POLIO QUARANTINE AREAS BANNED FROM STOPPING IN BAHAMAS
(Pensacola News Journal, Saturday, 22 June 1946)
JULY 1, 1946 – BAHAMAS INFANTILE PARALYSIS BAN EXTENDED TO ALL FLORIDA AND CUBAN TRAVELLERS REGARDLESS OF AGE
(The Atlanta Constitution, Tuesday, 02 July 1946)
JULY 2, 1946 – POLIO OUTBREAK WORSENS IN NEARBY FLORIDA
(The Tampa Tribune, Tuesday 02 July, 1946)
SEPTEMBER 5, 1946 – BAHAMAS LIFTS POLIO QUARANTINE BAN ONLY TO HAVE AN OUTBREAK ONE DAY LATER IN THE SOUTHERN BAHAMAS
(Tampa Bay Times, Thursday, 5 September, 1946)
SEPTEMBER 6, 1946 – VESSEL AND PLAN PILIO BAN ANNOUNCED FOR BIMINI AND CAT CAY
(Tampa Bay Times, Friday, 06 September 1946)
September 21, 1946 – FLORIDA HEALTH OFFICIALS BEGS POLIO SURVIVORS TO DONATE BLOOD TO TRY TO HELP THOSE NEWLY AFFLICTED BY THE CRIPPLING DISEASE
(The Miami News, Friday, 21 September, 1946)
JULY 31, 1949 – BAHAMAS ALLOWS PLANE TO LAND CARRYING YOUNG 12 YEAR OLD GIRL WITH INFECTIOUS POLIO. SHE DIES IN NASSAU. ATTEMPT TRY TO LIMIT SPREAD OF DEADLY DISEASE IN NASSAU BY KEEPING STRICKEN GIRL IN OXYGEN TENT
(The Spokane Review, Monday, 01 August, 1949)
1964 POLIO OUTBREAK FORCES MASS INNOCULATION OF PRACTICALLY EVERY CITIZEN AND RESIDENT IN BAHAMAS
(The South Bend Tribune, Sunday 05 April, 1964)
In 1964, as outbreak of polio in The Bahamas resulted in the largest mass immunisation exercise the colony had ever seen.
Over 130,000 citizens and residents, were given the poliomyelitis vaccine in an effort to stop a sudden outbreak of the polio disease, on the capital island of New Providence.
(The Indianapolis Star, Sunday, 05 April 1964)
APRIL 4, 1964 – FEAR OVER POLIO EPIDEMIC IN NASSAU MAY SPREAD TO FLORIDA VIA CRUISE SHIPS.
UNITED STATES RUSHES VACCINE TO NASSAU TO COMBAT ALL THREE TYPES OF POLIO AS NO ONE IS SURE WHAT TYPE OF POLIO OUTBREAK HAS HIT THE BAHAMAS.
POPULATION OF BAHAMAS: 135,000
(The Miami Herald, Saturday, 04 April, 1964)
APRIL 7, 1964 – FLORIDA OFFICIALS TRY TO EASE PANIC OF POSSIBLE SPREAD OF POLIO TO AMERICA FROM BAHAMAS
(The Miami Herald, Tuesday, 07 April 1964)
APRIL 10, 1964 – BAHAMAS SAYS NO TO CUBA’S OFFER FOR POLIO HELP
(Chicago Tribune, Friday, 10 April 1964)
April 17, 1964 – TWO DEAD, SIX TO EIGHT SEVERELY CRIPPLED AND 37 IN HOSPITAL POLIO EPIDEMIC DEEMED UNDER CONTROL. SCHOOLS TO REOPEN
(The Pittsburgh Press, Friday 17 April, 1964)
APRIL 21, 1964 – MASS INNOCULATION HALTS POLIO EPIDEMIC IN BAHAMAS.
OVER 130,000 OUT OF A TOTAL BAHAMAS POPULATION OF 135,000 IMMUNISED IN A MATTER OF WEEKS