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Inform issue 22 – Autumn 2017

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  • Netball
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  • Ndis
  • Inform
  • Autumn
  • Disability
  • Australia
  • Polio
In this edition of Inform we celebrate people out in their communities. We meet John who shares with us his determination which resulted in a new creative direction.

polioperspectives Polio

polioperspectives Polio past & present As one of the largest disabled groups in the world, polio survivors helped to advance the modern disability rights movement through campaigns for the social and civil rights of the disabled. Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fatigue, fever, headache, pain in the limbs, stiffness in the neck and vomiting. It can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. In Australia from the 1930s to the 1960s, significant numbers of Australians experienced paralytic polio (between 20,000 and 40,000 people). Many polio survivors living in Australia are now living with a range of symptoms and chronic conditions which may be attributable to the original polio infection, as well as the challenges of living with the effects of ageing with disability. Today, the disease has been eliminated from most of the world, and only three countries worldwide remain polio-endemic; Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Over the next two editions of Inform we will look at the history of polio in Australia through a timeline covering from the first recorded epidemic in 1885 to 2016 when the Life Stage Matters, Australasian/Pacific Conference was held in Sydney by Polio Australia. The figures Worldwide The World Health Organization estimates that there are 10 to 20 million polio survivors. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilised. Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 74 reported cases in 2015. Australia No less than 100,000 Australians in 2013 are living with the later effects of polio. Victoria 7,016 notifications of poliomyelitis and 509 associated deaths were recorded between 1929 and 1977. 1 in 4 paralysed by polio weren’t recorded in official figures as the majority of those assessed were no longer infectious by the time their polio was diagnosed. 1 in 200 infections from the polio virus did enough damage to those infected to present with paralysis. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS 19012013) and World Health Organization 2017 32 Inform

polioperspectives Polio in Australia and Victoria 18851932 1885: First epidemic recorded in Australia 18 cases at Port Lincoln, SA. 1903: Victoria’s Sir William Colin Mackenzie (18771938) wrote the standard references for the treatment of polio in Australia, America and England. Colin Mackenzie left Australia in 1903 to continue study in orthopaedic surgery, particularly the work of Hugh Owen Thomas 18341891, after whom the Thomas Splint was named. He developed a new way of treating polio patients. Immobilization and splinting was not enough, adding ‘muscle re-education’ to the rest and recovery. He encouraged maximum use of a patient’s remaining muscle strength to reduce muscle deformity. Dr Colin Mackenzie changed the way polio patients received treatment not only in Melbourne, but throughout the world. 1908: 155 cases recorded in Victoria including author-tobe of ‘I Can Jump Puddles’, Alan Marshall, then aged 6. 1911: Polio first became a notifiable disease in Tasmania, with all Australian states and territories following by 1922. 1915: Private Thomas Thomas, born 1885, Port Lincoln, South Australia, transferred to a hospital ship then the Military Hospital in Bristol, England suffering with polio paralysis of left leg and foot. Returned to Australia as medically unfit to serve in April 1916. 1918: Major outbreak. 1925 to 1931: Dame Jean Macnamara was consultant and medical officer responsible to the Poliomyelitis Committee of Victoria and in 193031 was an honorary adviser on polio to authorities in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. From 192851 she was honorary medical officer to the Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children. In 1935 she served on the Royal Commission to advise Sister Kenny’s methods of treatment. She was a member of the Consultative Council for Poliomyelitis 193742 and 1947. 1920s: Work on polio care and research from 192531. Jean Macnamara interested Macfarlane Burnet in researching a convalescent serum. This led to them discovering the different types of poliovirus, each producing its own antibodies. 1928: 185 cases in Victoria 155 under age of 16, of those 147 under 12. Two eldest, men of 44 and 55 both died. 1931 and 1932: Record number of cases in Australia 462 and 717 cases. 1932: Queenslander Sister Kenny initiated a polio treatment that promoted passive and active movements in patients. This method was deemed controversial, going against immobilisation recommendations. However, her work is now considered to be the forerunner of modern physiotherapy. One of her hospitals was at Hampton. Next edition 19332016 Autumn 2017 33