Incidence Rates of Poliomyelitis in US

 Incidence Rates of Poliomyelitis in Other Countries

Chart showing Number of Reporte Cases of Paralytic Polio in US from 1973 to 2003

SOURCE: CDC's Summary of Notifiable Diseases – United States, 2003,
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Vol. 52, No. 54, Published April 22, 2005.


Data from the MMWR are dependent on many factors. Severe cases are more likely to be reported. The completeness of reporting can be affected by public awareness, resources and priorities of state and local officials, and the availability of diagnostic testing and diagnostic facilities.

In the United States, data is reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Summary of Notifiable Diseases. Data from the MMWR are dependent on many factors. Severe cases are more likely to be reported. The completeness of reporting can be affected by public awareness, resources and priorities of state and local officials, and the availability of diagnostic testing and diagnostic facilities.

Another source of data for determining the number of survivors of polio in the United States is the information gathered as part of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NHIS is a continuously conducted survey of a nationally representative sample of the civilian, non-institutionalized population. It covers a broad range of health-related topics through personal interviews in the home. Interviews are conducted by specially trained interviewers employed by the Bureau of the Census.

The NHIS uses two questionnaires each year. The first is a basic health and demographic questionnaire. The second is a special questionnaire on current health topics.

In 1987, a special questionnaire was designed to collect information from polio survivors. Researchers were surprised to identify 821 polio survivors. Based on the 1987 sample size, the estimate of polio survivors in the United States was 1.6 million. The estimate of 640,000 paralytic polio survivors was much higher than previous national estimates. Researchers expressed a lack of confidence in the number because the data are self-reported and nonparalytic polio was often not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

To validate the number, the 1994-1995 NHIS disability survey screened 200,000 persons in Phase I, and then went back to about 40,000 people including people who were identified as polio survivors (Phase II). The 1994-1995 survey identified 445 polio survivors and, based on this sample size, the estimate of polio survivors in the United States is 1,000,000 with 433,000 reporting as paralytic polio survivors.

A comprehensive Polio Survivor Questionnaire was included in the Phase II survey. Survivors were asked questions about their acute poliomyelitis and the rehabilitation period, their period of physical best, and their present physical condition.

A copy of the questionnaire can be viewed at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_199acc.pdf (pages 407-428)

NCHS has posted the 1994-9 NHIS-D, phase 2 Polio data file on the web for public use:

Public-use Data Files (Micro-data)
Downloadable data files via ftp
1994-95 Polio data

Downloadable documentation via ftp
1994-95 Polio data
Descriptions

From 1937-1950, the US total cases included both paralytic and nonparalytic polio.
Year
Reported Cases
1937
9,514
1938
1,705
1939
7,343
1940
9,804
1941
9,086
1942
4,167
1943
12,450
1944
19,029
1945
13,624
1946
25,698
1947
10,827
1948
27,726
1949
42,033
1950
33,300
Total
226,306
 
From 1951 to present, the MMWR distinguished between paralytic cases and nonparalytic cases.
Year
Paralytic
Nonparalytic
1951
10,037
18,349
1952
21,269
36,610
1953
15,648
19,944
1954
18,308
20,168
1955
13,850
15,135
1956
7,911
7,229
1957
2,499
2,986
1958
3,697
2,090
1959
6,289
2,136
1960
2,525
665
1961
988
324
1962
792
148
1963
396
53
1964
106
16
1965
61
11
1966
106
7
1967
40
1
1968
53
0
1969
18
2
1970
31
2
1971
17
4
1972
29
2
1973
7
1
1974
7
0
1975
8
0
1976
12
2
1977
17
1
1978
9
6
1979
26
8
1980
8
1
1981
6
0
1982
8
0
1983
15
0
1984
8
0
1985
7
0
1986
8
0
1987
6
0
1988
9
0
1989
11
0
1990
6
0
1991
10
0
1992
6
0
1993
4
0
1994
8
0
1995
6
0
1996
5
0
1997
3
0
1998
1 confirmed
1999
0 cases
2000
0 reported cases
2001
0 reported cases
2002
0 reported cases
2003
0 reported cases
2004
0 reported cases
2005
1 case of VAPP
2006
0 reported cases
Started to include paralytic and non-paralytic cases again in 2007.
Year
Paralytic
Nonparalytic
2007
0
0 reported cases
2008
0
0 reported cases

 

Total cases from 1937-1950 ... 226,306

Total cases from 1951-1997 ... 230,782

Total cases from 1937-1997 ... 457,088

Numbers may not reflect changes based on retrospective case evaluation or late reports.

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