Human beings have been living with polio for thousands of years, Cochi said. There's evidence from ancient Egypt that paralytic polio existed there and even infected royalty. But it wasn't described clinically until 1789.
Polio primarily spreads from person to person -- through coughing and sneezing -- or through fecal contamination. The particles are large enough that the risk of contracting polio in the air is momentary, and on a surface like a desk or a chair, it can last an hour or two. But in sewage, it can last for weeks or even months.
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"It has been known for decades that polio and myalgic encephalomyelitis traveled in side-by-side epidemics, and that those affected with ME were later found to be immune to polio."
Dr. Richard Bruno has studied both diseases. In 1988, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis was re-named Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to hide the severity of the disease that Dr. Bruno theorizes that "when polio was conquered, it left a vacuum which was filled by another enterovirus; CFS researchers have found an enterovirus."
Since no one I knew at the time had CFS, it's clear that I got it from a stranger. Perhaps someone on the street coughed as I walked past. Perhaps someone who had it touched the faucet in the office bathroom and I picked it up after I washed my hands when I turned the water off.