PUNXSUTAWNEY, JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Sunday is World Polio Day, and the Punxsutawney Rotary Club brought in a Clearfield County native to speak of his experience with the disease that impacted him when he was just 2 years old.
Polio is a deadly virus that crippled children around the world and paralyzed parents with fear, and the rotary club has spent the last 35 years working to eradicate the disease.
Larry Peterson, who grew up in Mahaffey, got the virus when he was living in Buffalo, New York, back in 1955 – the same year the Salk vaccine came out, which was the first vaccine against polio.
Peterson said he was in the children’s hospital in Pittsburgh for six months. Polio primarily affected his right leg, and he did have issues with walking early on.
However, Peterson said he has been able to pretty much have an active life as he wants.
While polio is not as great of a threat in the U.S. thanks to vaccines, the CDC said areas such as Afghanistan and Pakistan still struggle with its impact on children.
For more information on polio and its vaccine, head to the CDC’s website.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather, and community events that matter to you.