This Brazilian Supermodel Bonded With Mothers In India For An Important Cause

Part 4 of our "World Immunization Week" series

April 24-30 is World Immunization Week and we at A Plus are proud to present a five-part series that celebrates the incredible impact vaccines have had on global health.
Most people know Isabeli Fontana as the gorgeous Brazilian supermodel who has been the face of some of the biggest names in fashion, including Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Versace, and countless others. But Fontana is more than just a pretty face in the pages of Victoria's Secret or Vogue, she's a mother who is dedicated to keeping her children healthy through the use of vaccines. This dedication led her to become an international advocate for vaccines and helping mothers around the world protect their children as well. 
Fontana's journey to advocacy happened by chance when she was taking her son to get his booster shot. It was there that she met representatives from Rotary International, who asked her if she'd like to become an ambassador. Because vaccines were important to her as a mother, she decided to give it a shot. Though she had always been in favor of vaccines in general, she was about to get an education about polio that would be completely life-changing. 
This ambassadorship with Rotary took her to India, where she helped administer the oral polio vaccine to children, spoke with people in the communities, and toured hospitals that treated people who injured by polio. Polio was no longer an abstract concept; the undeniable effects of the disease were right in front of her.
Isabeli Fontana giving the oral polio vaccine during an ambassador trip to India for Rotary International.
Isabeli Fontana giving the oral polio vaccine during an ambassador trip to India for Rotary International. JEAN-MARC GIBOUX FOR ROTARY INTERNATIONAL 
"It was very deep for me to go to the hospital and see people who had polio," Fontana told A Plus. "I cried all the time. I was facing the problem. It is very serious."
Though polio has been eradicated in India, the disease is still endemic in neighboring Pakistan. If vaccination rates in India don't remain high, the disease could make a resurgence. 
Fontana admits that the reality she saw while on the trip is quite unlike her day-to-day life as one of the world's fashion elites. Yet, during her trip to India, she met women who were very much like her in the most important sense: mothers who wanted nothing more than to keep their children safe.
She said there was one woman in particular who made a deep impression on her. Though she showed up with her children to receive the polio drops, she refused to leave until the children received immunizations against a number of other diseases as well.
"She was really concerned because she knows the place that she lives in," Fontana recalled. "She knew she needed to get all of the shots done before she left."
Isabeli indicating the world is "this close" to eradicating polio, thanks to the efforts of Rotary International and its partners. 
Isabeli indicating the world is "this close" to eradicating polio, thanks to the efforts of Rotary International and its partners.  JEAN-MARC GIBOUX FOR ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
Like many of the parents Fontana met while in India, she views vaccines as a no-brainer and has no interest in debating with the idea of opposing vaccines.
"Kids deserve to be happy and healthy. I don't know what to say. I have children and I am very concerned about that," she stated emphatically. "Of course, everyone wants to be natural, but the thing is, this is very serious. This is not just, 'Oh well, I don't believe in vaccination, so I'm not going to immunize my children.'" 
Fontana knows first hand that it is truly a small world and disease can spread easily when given the chance. Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014, bringing soccer fans from all over the world right to her doorstep. Because the country eradicated polio in 1989, it was unsettling for health officials to discover that a tourist from Africa carried the poliovirus to Brazil.
Thankfully it didn't spread, but the summer Olympics hosted in Rio this year could threaten the health of tourists and citizens of Brazil if vaccination rates are not kept high.
"It's something that can come back if we're not careful," she cautioned. 
Isabeli meeting a patient who has been affected by polio during her ambassador trip to Delhi, India.
Isabeli meeting a patient who has been affected by polio during her ambassador trip to Delhi, India. JEAN-MARC GIBOUX FOR ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
Moving forward, Fontana plans to continue using her voice as an ambassador for Rotary and give every mother on the planet the opportunity to protect their own children from infectious disease.
"If something happens to your children [because of disease], nothing can repair the problem. Everyone's children deserve to be healthy in this world. We all need to do our best for our children so we can live healthy," she stated.
Join Isabeli Fontana's fight to eradicate polio by donating to Rotary International here. For every dollar that comes in, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $2, which triples the power of the contribution. 

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

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Erradicación de La poliomielitis

Polio Tricisilla Adaptada

March Of Dimes Polio History

Dr. Bruno




A 41-year-old man developed an acute illness at the age of 9 months during which, following a viral illness with headache, he developed severe weakness and wasting of the limbs of the left side. After several months he began to recover, such that he was able to walk at the age of 2 years and later was able to run, although he was never very good at sports. He had stable function until the age of 18 when he began to notice greater than usual difficulty lifting heavy objects. By the age of 25 he was noticing progressive difficulty walking due to weakness of both legs, and he noticed that the right calf had become larger. The symptoms became more noticeable over the course of the next 10 years and ultimately both upper as well as both lower limbs had become noticeably weaker.

On examination there was wasting of the muscles of upper and lower limbs on the left, and massively hypertrophied gastrocnemius, soleus and tensor fascia late on the right. The calf circumference on the right exceeded that on the left by 10 cm (figure1). The right shoulder girdle, triceps, thenar eminence and small muscles of the hand were wasted and there was winging of both scapulae. The right quadriceps was also wasted. The wasted muscles were also weak but the hypertrophied right ankle plantar flexors had normal power. The tendon reflexes were absent in the lower limbs and present in the upper limbs, although the right triceps was reduced. The remainder of the examination was normal.

Figure 1

The patient's legs, showing massive enlargement of the right calf and wasting on the left


What is that nature of the acute illness in infancy?
What is the nature of the subsequent deterioration?
What investigations should be performed?
What is the differential diagnosis of the cause of the progressive calf hypertrophy?



An acute paralytic illness which follows symptoms of a viral infection with or without signs of meningitis is typical of poliomyelitis. Usually caused by one of the three polio viruses, it may also occur following vaccination and following infections with other enteroviruses.1 Other disorders which would cause a similar syndrome but with upper motor neurone signs would include acute vascular lesions, meningoencephalitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.


A progressive functional deterioration many years after paralytic poliomyelitis is well known, although its pathogenesis is not fully understood.2 It is a diagnosis of exclusion; a careful search for alternative causes, for example, orthopaedic deformities such as osteoarthritis or worsening scoliosis, superimposed neurological disorders such as entrapment neuropathies or coincidental muscle disease or neuropathy, and general medical causes such as respiratory complications and endocrinopathies.3


Investigations revealed normal blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate and normal biochemistry apart from a raised creatine kinase at 330 IU/l (normal range 60–120 IU/l), which is commonly seen in cases of ongoing denervation. Electromyography showed evidence of denervation in the right APB and FDI with polyphasic motor units and complex repetitive discharges, no spontaneous activity in the left calf and large polyphasic units in the right calf consistent with chronic partial denervation. Motor and sensory conduction velocities were normal. A lumbar myelogram was normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the calves is shown in figure2.

Figure 2

Axial T1 weighted MRI scan (TR 588 ms, TE 15 ms) of the calves, showing gross muscle atrophy and replacement by adipose tissue on the left, and hypertrophy of the muscles on the right, with only minor adipose tissue deposition


The differential diagnosis of the progressive calf hypertrophy is given in the box.

Causes of calf muscle hypertrophy

Chronic partial denervation

  • radiculopathy

  • peripheral neuropathy

  • hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy

  • spinal muscular atrophy

  • following paralytic poliomyelitis

    Neuromyotonia and myokymia

  • Isaac's syndrome

  • generalised myokymia

  • neurotonia

  • continuous muscle fibre activity due to: chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculopathy, Guillain Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, thymoma, thyrotoxicosis, thyroiditis

    Muscular dystrophies



  • tumours

  • amyloidosis

  • cysticercosis

    Link here