SUBIACO nurse Tessa Jupp has been recognised for her service to the research and care of post-polio patients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, by being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Mrs Jupp, who will accept the medal at a ceremony in October, first began her work in polio in 1989, while caring for her late husband who had the disease.
She said while caring for him she realised there was not enough being done in WA to help those who were suffering from the late effects of polio.
“The work we are doing is looking at nutrition and what vitamins and minerals can be used to help with the late effects of polio,” she said.
“We find blood levels in polio survivors are not sufficient in carnitine, which can cause a lack of energy and endurance.”
Mrs Jupp was a founding member of the Post Polio Network of Western Australia, an organisation, which supports polio survivors, and is a board member of Polio Australia.
She is also the co-author of Poliomyelitis in Western Australia: A History.
She said the network had contacted more than 2000 survivors, who they were helping, but still had another 1000 they wanted to get in touch with.
Although polio was no longer a threat, the long-term effects of the disease and the deterioration process are still affecting many survivors.
Research at the clinic was also finding a link between polio survivors and muscle weakness and fatigue being passed down to children and grandchildren.
Mrs Jupp said she was pleasantly surprised to receive the Order of Australia Medal.
“I think it’s recognition that this work is important and valuable,” she said.
“Hopefully this will help raise awareness of the issues of post polio and get other states to take notice of the research we are doing here in WA.