Polio — known by the scientific name poliomyelitis — has existed as long as human civilization.
It terrified parents because children were especially susceptible to the incurable disease, which caused paralysis and in some cases death.
Only 60 years ago, the United States experienced an epidemic, with nearly 58,000 cases reported in 1952. More than 3,000 died of polio that year.
Still, as of 2012 polio was eliminated in a majority of the world thanks to global initiatives to vaccinate children. It only remained endemic in three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.