October 24 Is World Polio Day. So, What Is Polio?

Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Chair

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of five. The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.

Rotary International has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. Rotary’s goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent since the first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

Rotary members, which includes the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly three billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

Want to learn more? See www.endpolio.org. To learn more about Rotary Club of Sun Lakes’ programs and membership, see www.sunlakesrotary.com.