The mode of transmission was found to be from person to person. The two phase process of the disease was well understood, and mild nonparalytic infections or anterior poliomyelitis as well as paralytic infections were all understood to be major means of contagion. Animals and most insects were eliminated as vectors. It was known that some victims would die in a few days. Some would have crippling paralysis, and others would recover without a sign. Polio was identified through most parts of the body such as the central nervous system blood, saliva, gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes and nasopharynx. The damage caused by the poliovirus was known to be done in the spinal cord’s anterior horn of the gray matter and in brain tissue.
The hospital employees gave the impression to the citizens of Los Angeles, California that there was a massive epidemic of Poliomyelitis when there were other viruses and illnesses that could have been causing the epidemic or being part of it. Dr. Webster of Rockefeller Institute of medical Science of New York City believed that 90% of the cases were actually not poliomyelitis. The nurses and professionals from the county hospital were too scared of getting the paralytic strand of the virus that most of them would avoid working. The medical officials were well informed about the facts of poliomyelitis and most still ignored them and also failed to inform the public. The interns of the Los Angeles County Hospital were deprived of teaching and proper guidance because the physicians attending were too afraid of getting the disease. Not only was the general public afraid of getting the disease but also a major part of the medical and nursing staff. They were also scared to tell the public that the disease was not polio.
There was no doubt that Los Angeles had an epidemic of poliomyelitis in the summer of 1934, but it was a mild one. Most of the people who were sick...