Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


Phone call between Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. D. Armin Fischer

D. Armin Fischer, MD; 1983; Los Angeles, California

As a volunteer for Gini Laurie and the Rehabilitation Gazette (later GINI and now Post-Polio Health International), I attended the first post-polio conference in 1981. Laurie organized this conference after polio survivors were starting to report new medical problems and were looking for explanations. D. Armin Fischer, MD, Chief of the Chest Medicine Service at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center (now Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital) in Downey, California, was asked to discuss new breathing problems of polio survivors that he was seeing.

Curious about the cause of these late effects of polio, Dr. Fischer called Dr. Jonas Salk and asked him for his theory. Dr. Fischer relayed the conversation to Laurie, which was written up for the files. By then, I was executive director of GINI (1984-1987) and helped co-author the Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors, along with Dr. Fischer. (Dr. Fischer and I were married in 1987.)

Salk’s 1983 comment that there is no evidence of a persistent poliovirus in survivors is still true today. Fragments of the poliovirus have been found, but there presence does not result in post-polio problems in all cases.

Judith R. Fischer


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