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Polio Vaccine Collection 1951-1962
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Historical Note

In April 1955 the Department of HEW licensed 6 companies to distribute a newly-developed polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The vaccine's effectiveness had been endorsed by NIH and the Surgeon General. Shortly after the vaccine was distributed, however, Cutter laboratory's allotment was found to be tainted and a cause of 72 new cases of polio. Responding to the crisis, the U.S. Public Health Service directed CDC epidemiologist Alexander Langmuir to investigate. Langmuir created the Polio Surveillance Unit, which worked with state health departments and acquired information on every reported case of polio.