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Saturday, December 7, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Warning of ‘infantile paralysis’

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a front-page box advising parents to be on the watch for a frightening scourge: infantile paralysis.

The disease was sweeping through New York City, which had 195 new cases in 24 hours, and was spreading through the rest of the U.S.

Parents were urged to be on the lookout for early signs of the disease, usually in children under school age. It started with coldlike symptoms, runny nose and sore throat. Then the child would complain of weakness and “slow paralysis will follow, affecting at first the arms and legs and possibly one side.”

“The instant a child is suspected of having the disease, a doctor should be called and the health department notified … the patient should be completely isolated.”

Today, we know infantile paralysis by the name polio. Vaccination has almost – but not completely – eradicated this terrifying disease.

From the land beat: Franz Nidler, 82, of Portland, was one of tens of thousands of people arriving in Spokane to register for the Colville Reservation’s land drawing. In his case, it was a return visit after 52 years.

“Soon after being discharged from the army after the Civil War, I and two companions accompanied an emigrant train as far as Helena, Mont.,” he said. “Leaving the train, the three of us proceeded westward and stopped here by the falls. The presence of so many Indians, however, shortened our stay and we hastened on to Portland.”

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