The Poliomyelitis Virus

Poliomyelitis — or the poliovirus — is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5.

It is spread person to person, typically through contaminated water.  It can attack the nervous system, and in some instances, lead to paralysis or death.  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.  Since 1988, we have reduced the number of new cases by 99.9%.

Unless we eradicate polio, within 10 years we could see as many as 200,000 new cases each year, all over the world.  The disease is endemic in only 3 countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria — but unless we reach every child with the vaccine, no child anywhere is safe.

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