Decades ago, polio outbreaks were a constant threat around the world. After the introduction of polio vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin and a steadfast immunization effort, these outbreaks became part of history in most of the world.
Yet many still live under the threat of polio, which is why Rotary and its global partners are committed to reaching every child with the vaccine and ending this disease worldwide.
Major gains have been made in the global fight against polio:
• In the 1980s,
1,000 children were infected by the disease every day in 125 countries.
Today, polio cases have declined by 99 percent, with fewer than two
thousand cases reported in 2006.
What exactly is polio?
For as little as US$0.60 worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. It can cause paralysis within hours, and polio paralysis is almost always irreversible. In the most severe cases, polio attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, causing breathing difficulty or even death.
Historically, polio has been the world’s greatest cause of disability. If polio isn’t eradicated, the world will continue to live under the threat of the disease. More than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years if the world fails to capitalize on its US$4 billion global investment in eradication.
Did you know that more than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years if the world fails to eradicate polio? Polio eradication is within our grasp. But if we don’t eradicate the disease now, the risk of crippling and deadly polio outbreaks will continue to threaten the world’s children.
Health experts agree that these primary
challenges must be overcome in order to reach the goal of polio eradication:
Four key strategies for stopping poliovirus transmission:
1. Routine immunization
2. National Immunization Days
4. Targeted mop-up campaigns
You can help Rotary get the job done by contributing to Rotary’s PolioPlus program or volunteering and creating awareness of polio. Generous contributions to PolioPlus help fund these activities and bring us closer to polio eradication. Contribute to stopping polio today.
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