Polio is a disease which is pretty much unheard of now in the developed world, but was once very common. In the UK there has not been a recorded case of domestically contracted polio since the early 1980’s, and in the US since 1979, the only recorded polio patients in these countries have contracted the infection overseas. The disease was beaten by the discovery of an effective vaccination, which scientists had been researching for years.
The 2014 documentary The Battle to Beat Polio looks back at the research undertaken to develop a polio vaccination and the clamor which took place between scientists, all desperate to be the first to solve the problem. The presenter Stephanie Flanders has a very personal relationship with Polio, her father was paralysed by the infection at the age of 21 and died in his fifties due to the legacy that the disease left on his body. In the course of making the documentary Flanders discovers that there could have been a vaccination many years earlier and that many victims, including her father, could have been saved.