Why are we still talking about polio?

By Carol Pandak - Oct 17, 2018


Polio – short for poliomyelitis – is a highly infectious viral disease that most commonly affects young children. The virus, which can be transmitted person-to-person, is known to cause fever, vomiting, limb pain and sometimes, paralysis. There is no cure for polio, but the virus can be prevented through regular immunizations 1.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that every child receive four doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) between the ages of 2 months and 6 years 2. And while the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979 2, it does not guarantee that the virus will stay permanently dormant.

MMS

According to the World Health Organization, polio cases have decreased more than 99% over the course of the last 30 years – but the virus and its debilitating side effects, still exist and pose a global threat if not eradicated. As a matter of fact, if the virus continues to spread, it could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year – within 10 years – all over the world 3.

The good news is that with our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has helped to immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. We continue to reach children and communities that were previously inaccessible, opening the door for them to benefit from other global health and development resources as well.

The generous contribution of 20 million syringes made by BD and facilitated by Direct Relief will be delivered and used for vaccination among children in four states within the country. This donation contributes toward maintaining a polio-free India while the final steps are being taken to prevent this debilitating disease globally.

MMS

Carol Pandak

Director of PolioPlus


  1. Health Topics: Poliomyelitis. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/poliomyelitis/en/
  2. Vaccines and Preventable Diseases. (2018, May 04). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/polio/index.html
  3. Does Polio Still Exist. (2018, March). Retrieved from http://www.who.int;