1955 Polio Epidemic
In 1955, a polio epidemic swept the nation, but was especially devastating in Outagamie County. That summer, Outagamie County had the highest rate of incidence of polio cases in the nation! The public scare that resulted led to an increased emphasis on sanitation and improvements in the local healthcare system. The 1955 approval of Jonas Salk’s killed virus polio vaccine was met with much hope and relief. At the time, it meant there was an end in sight to summers spent in isolation and to the gripping fear of paralysis. Today, polio is virtually unknown to Fox Valley residents, and Valley children are able to spend their summers just being kids. MORE
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Developed by the Outagamie County Historical Society with funding from Cooperative Education Service Agency 6, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and the U.S. Department of Education. © 2006 OCHS.
"Polio Pledge" from the Appleton Post-Crescent, August 19, 1955
Photograph of neighbor boys across the driveway from each other, Appleton Post-Crescent, August 6, 1955.
Newspaper article "County has six new cases for 205 total," Appleton Post-Crescent, August 23, 1955.
Advertisement for toys at Pranges Department Store, Appleton Post-Crescent, August 19, 1955.
Photograph of nurses treating a patient in a "iron lung" at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, 1955.
Newspaper article "Polio Vaccine hits 50-Year Mark," Appleton Post-Crescent, April 12, 1955.