The organization was started as a not-for-profit in 1960, when its Founder Gini Laurie and friends established the International Iron Lung Polio Assistance, Inc. (See History of PHI). Post-Polio Health International was chosen in 2003 to better reflect the organization's mission. It replaced Gazette International Networking Institute (GINI), a name that honored the highly-respected founder, who died in 1989.
Polio is the short name for poliomyelitis, a disease caused by a virus. PHI's Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors contains an abbreviated description – History of Polio.
An authoritative and extensive description of acute poliomyelitis prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found at www.cdc.gov/polio/. For a detailed description, go to "The Pink Book."
For access to an extensive website about polio coordinated by Communication Initiative Network go to http://www.comminit.com/en/polio.html.
For global updates on the global count of cases and the eradication effort, check the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
One can find several variations of a basic definition of "post-polio syndrome." However, a universal definition is important for research purposes, and the one most commonly used is found in PHI's Information about the Late Effects of Polio ... For Health Professionals and on the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) website Post-Polio Syndrome.
Post-polio syndrome is a condition as a result of having had polio earlier in life. There is no indication that post-polio syndrome is contagious. The only time a person is contagious is during acute poliomyelitis. For an authoritative and detailed description of acute poliomyelitis, check out Poliomyelitis at www.cdc.gov/polio/.
PHI has funding available for bracing or special shoes for survivors in need in its Joyce and Arthur Siegfried Memorial Fund. Email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. The maximum amount given per applicant is $800.
Survivors living in Missouri can apply for funds from the Gilbert Goldenhersh Memorial Tribute Fund for bracing and modified shoes. Email email@example.com for an application. The maximum amount given per applicant is $800.
And PHI recommends that survivors in the USA contact the closest Center for Independent Living (CIL).
See listing at ILRU Directory of Centers & SILCs-2009 (Vol. 31).
Or for those of working age, contact your state's Vocational Rehabilitation State Offices.
Many states link you to the area offices, too.
Or for the elderly, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Find your local AAA.
Some larger support groups have established funds to financially assist local polio survivors.
Check Post-Polio Directory for a group near you.
From the American Society of Anesthesiologists:
Safe, Successful Surgery Starts with Anesthesia Care
Anesthesia Use in Polio Survivors: What's New (2011)
Selma Harrison Calmes, MD
Summary of Anesthesia Issues for Post-Polio Patients
Selma H. Calmes, MD, Olive View/UCLA Medical Center, provides cautionary advice for polio survivors.
Anesthesia Update: Separating Fact from Fear (2009)
Selma Harrison Calmes, MD
Selma Calmes, MD, recommends the following article to the post-polio community. "Questions Baby Boomers (and their parents) should ask about anesthesia" (25th August, 2013) by Karen Sullivan Sibert, MD, a Los Angeles anesthesiologist, which was written at the request of the American Society of Anesthesiologists as a public service for patients and families.
"Postpolio Syndrome and Anesthesia"
David A. Lambert, MD; Elenis Giannouli, MD; & Brian J. Schmidt, MD, The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Read the article in September 2005 issue of Anesthesiology (Vol. 103, No. 3, pp 638-644)
Survivors of last century's polio epidemics now entering their fifth to seventh decades of life are presenting for surgery more often. Some of these patients may have postpolio syndrome. This article reviews polio, postpolio syndrome and anesthetic considerations for this patient population.
A Statement about Exercise for Survivors of Polio ...
Written by the Medical Advisory Committee of Post-Polio Health International and endorsed by 29 post-polio experts. For additional information, read Articles about Exercise for Polio Survivors, collected from past issues of Post-Polio Health.
SOS – Save Our Shoulders: A Guide for Polio Survivors from Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute is a 34-page booklet complied in 2003. It discusses shoulder problems of polio survivors and offers advice and exercise possibilities. The colorful booklet includes diagrams and photos. Note: Some of addresses on page 32 are incorrect. Please see PHI's Post-Polio Directory.
International Ventilator Users Network published “Breathing and Sleep Problems in Polio Survivors” and “Tests for Breathing Problems If You Have a Neuromuscular Condition.” The first article is a broad summary of the problems; the second article describes a routine evaluation of respiratory function and lists select medical articles for ALS, cough, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the late effects of polio.
PHI compiles an online list of Medical/Clinical Publications about Post-Polio Syndrome and Other Post-Polio Problems.
The National Museum of American History (NMAH) at the Smithsonian created an exhibit “Whatever Happened to Polio?” in 2005-2006. The exhibit closed and part of it was moved to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia. The NMAH created an excellent companion website that is still available. See “Whatever Happened to Polio?”
For current information on the status of polio eradication efforts and vaccine recommendations, consult the Travel Notices at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ or the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Polio vaccine is not typically required by law; however, there are polio vaccine requirements for attending the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
The following website from the US Transportation Security Administration is for travelers www.tsa.gov/travelers. Click on "Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions" to find specific regulations.
Also, PHI has compiled a list of Air Carriers with Medical Policies with direct links to the airlines' respective policies.
Hastings Professional Medical Equipment, Cleveland, Ohio (216-898-3300), Freeman Manufacturing Company, Sturgis, Michigan (800-253-2091), Snell’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, Memphis, Tennessee (901-725-7048), and Shirlene Horton at C.H. Martin Company, Orthotics/Prosthetics, 329 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30313 (404-525-1533). If you live in the Bay Area (California) and can pay out of pocket, contact, Barbara Becchio (firstname.lastname@example.org; phone – 510-734-0434). She is a costume maker who teaches theatrical costuming and who sews for the San Francisco opera.