This morning, the Dallas Morning News featured an attorney by the name of Paul Alexander. Alexander is now in his 70s and lives in what is known as an “iron lung” as a result of prior polio survival. He is one of the few people in the United States using the device.
The article is one large push touting the success of the polio vaccine. Though it fails to mention improvements to sanitation in modern countries as being a contributor.
Alexander is shown in the video living inside of a canister, unable to move his own body.
Vaccines are often glorified in the case of Polio eradication. Polio is typically the epicenter of the pro-vaccine movement’s argument (at least from a foundational purpose). Many vaccine skeptics still believe the polio vaccine is beneficial.
Fecal matter is the most hospitable home for Polio bacteria. Improper plumbing is a large contributor to its spread. In fact, places with poor sanitation, such as India, still get Polio, which is often derived from live Polio vaccines that end up in a child’s fecal matter. Roughly 780 million Indians do not have a toilet. According to water.org, “a staggering 522 million, practice open defecation.” Correlation?
And don’t overlook the lack of clean drinking water in India.
Again, from water.org.
The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are linked to unsafe water and the lack of hygiene practices. Further, more than 500 children under the age of five die each day from diarrhea in India alone.
The Dallas Morning News piece on Alexander is a sad and difficult watch for anyone with a heart, but clean sanitation being completely overlooked causes the article to seem more like an indoctrination piece than a story about a man living in circumstances that most of us could never comprehend.