McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

August 22, 2012

Dr. Shuller recalls Polio epidemic

McALESTER — The summer of 1949 brings memories of widespread panic and helplessness as the Polio epidemic spread it’s dark wings over the city of McAlester, according to a long time McAlester pediatrician.

Dr. Thurman Shuller, 98, was a young Pediatrician in McAlester in 1949 and he said it was a summer he will never forget.

 He said the city’s parks, pools, theaters and even Sunday schools were empty as the Polio epidemic ravaged the town.
“There was panic everywhere,” he said. “We never had an epidemic like that before and no one was sure how to treat it.”
He said he diagnosed 55 children that year. “It started with a fever and muscle weakness and difficulty breathing,” Shuller said.
Some would recover fully but others suffered paralysis and even death, he said.
Nationwide that year of the 42,173 cases some 2,720 deaths occurred from polio, according to cdc.gov.
Dr. Shuller a longtime member of the Rotary Club of McAlester said he’s proud of what the club has done to help eradicate the Polio virus. “Rotary is working to eliminate Polio worldwide.”
And although it’s been eradicated in the Western Hemisphere he said the virus is still spreading in other countries.
In fact the Centers for Disease Control reports that the spread of polio has never stopped in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
 The Polio virus has been reintroduced and continues to spread in Chad and Democratic Republic of the Congo after the spread of the virus was previously stopped, according to cdc.gov.
Shuller said the Rotary club has made a commitment to the complete eradication of polio which cannot happen until the entire world is free of the disease.
He said the memories are still strong as he recalled a day when his wife, Joanna, called him at his office one  during that summer with terrifying news.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.