Well I’ll be a monkey’s polio vaccine…

Rhesus Macaques Macaca mulatta in northern India (Thomas Schoch)

Rhesus Macaques monkeys in northern India (Thomas Schoch)

Here’s some waiting room reading for families lined up for Israel’s latest polio vaccine campaign:

Israel’s polio vaccine research effort in the 1950s involved negotiation with the Indian government over concerns that rhesus monkeys used for testing were considered sacred in the Hindu tradition:

A transport of several hundred rhesus monkeys arrived today in Israel from India in connection with the Israel Government’s polio vaccine research program. Obtaining the monkeys was a difficult task since they are regarded in India as “holy.” The Israel Ministry of Health gave assurances that they would be used “solely for medical purposes in the service of mankind.”

The last polio outbreak in Israel was in 1988 and included 15 cases over four months beginning in August of that year.

Adam Soclof is JTA’s Associate Director of Outreach and Partnerships and coordinates presentations and advertising/marketing opportunities for the news agency. A digital archives enthusiast, Adam has authored more than 300 blog posts for The JTA Archive Blog and was responsible for its social media presence and weekly newsletter, This Week in Jewish History. Adam has presented at several conferences in the form of game shows, interactive social media campaigns and Powerpoint presentations. Follow him on Twitter: @hypersem

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