Rotary Club of Seatuck Cove

‘This Close’ to Wiping Out Polio

 
With only 24 cases reported worldwide, the once-dreaded disease of polio, also known as infantile paralysis, has almost been completely wiped out.  “We’re ‘this close’ to wiping polio off the face of the earth," said David Ardam.
 
With only 24 cases reported worldwide, the once-dreaded disease of polio, also known as infantile paralysis, has almost been completely wiped out.
 
“We’re ‘this close’ to wiping polio off the face of the earth," said David Ardam who gave a report on the crippling disease at a recent meeting of the Seatuck Cove Rotary Club in Manorville. “We won’t stop until we finish the job.”
 
Many remember the terrible images of polio victims, far too many of them children, in iron lung machines and limbs crippled from the disease’s impact on muscles and the nervous system. President Franklin Roosevelt had contracted polio before a vaccine was developed in the 1950’s by Virologist Jonas Salk at a time when it was considered the most frightening public health problem in the world.
 
In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Since then, Rotary has contributed more than $1.3 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, according to Ardam, a past Rotary district governor and Polio Subcommittee chair. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $9 billion to the eradication effort.
 
Today, there are only three countries where the polio virus is still transmitted: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, where 24 polio cases have been confirmed, a reduction of more than 99 percent since the 1980's, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day.
 
“We are committed to working with Dave Ardam and our partners worldwide to completely eradicate polio,” said Seatuck Cove President Bob Dovale. “No child should suffer from this terrible disease.”