Polio . . . Forgotten but not gone !

Polio Australia encourages every polio survivor living in Australia (whether you contracted polio in Australia or overseas) to join the Australian Polio Register. Our strength lies in our numbers – please help us to get you the services you need by registering today! Simply click the button below to begin.

Polio (poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis) is now a disease that has virtually been forgotten by our community and health professionals. Although vaccination programs beginning in the late 1950s have prevented new infections in Australia, polio survivors form the largest single physical disability group in the country. We’re still here!

Between the 1930’s and 1960’s there were 40,000 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis recorded in Australia but the total number of polio infection cases are up to 100 times greater. This is because only 1 in 100 cases of poliomyelitis causes paralysis thereby requiring hospitalisation and mandatory reporting. However, a large percentage of the ‘non-paralytic’ and non-reported polio infections still caused considerable damage to the motor neurones. Professionals with first-hand experience of the disease have long since retired and there is an urgent and growing need for Australians to become re-acquainted with polio and its late effects.

Over the last twenty years much attention has been drawn to the development of new, previously unrecognised, symptoms which occur in people who were thought to have reached a stable level of recovery after the acute disease. Many polio survivors who have emerging symptoms still report difficulty in obtaining correct diagnosis and treatment. The large number of survivors who are now experiencing new symptoms has transformed the problem from an individual predicament to a social concern.

In 2008 the six Australian State Polio Networks signed a Memorandum of Understanding which in turn lead to the development of a Constitution for a national organisation, Polio Australia, and its incorporation later that year. Polio Australia is committed to standardising quality polio information and service provision across Australia for polio survivors. Polio Australia’s vision is that all polio survivors in Australia have access to appropriate health care and the support required to maintain independence and make informed lifestyle choices. One of the ways we achieve this is through our annual Polio Health and Wellness self-management program.

Since 2007 Polio Australia has been lobbying vigorously for long-overdue polio-specific services for Australia’s hundreds of thousands of polio survivors.

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