|Description:||This historic photograph shows a technician calibrating an iron lung machine. See PHIL 14799, for a color version of this image.|
These machines were used to keep polio patients alive, enabling them to breathe by creating a negatively-pressurized environment around their bodies after having been sealed inside the machine, with only their head exterior to the confines of the apparatus.
Poliovirus is a member of the enterovirus subgroup, family Picornaviridae. Enteroviruses are transient inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract, and are stable at acid pH. Picornaviruses are small, ether-insensitive viruses with an RNA genome.