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
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
NDN Video
CDC Director Warns Of A World Where Antibiotics No Longer Work Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
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.