Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5.
Most know it as poliovirus. The virus is spread person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system, and in some instances, lead to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine – one which Rotary and our partners use to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.
Who is Affected?
Unless we eradicate polio, within 10 years, as many as 200,000 new cases could occur around the world each year. In the past few years, only two countries have reported cases of polio caused by the wild virus, but no child anywhere is safe until we’ve vaccinated every child.
At the end of the 1980s, more than 350,000 children were paralyzed by polio every year. Today, Rotary and its partners have reduced the incidence of polio by 99.9 percent. However, until we see the last of the poliovirus, eradication efforts need additional funding to:
more than 400 million children against polio every year
disease surveillance systems to detect any poliovirus in a person or the environment
more than 150,000 health workers to go door to door to find every child