End Polio Now! Key Facts

Rotary International has declared October 24, 2018, World Polio Day.


Did you know? 

  1. Prior to the discovery of an oral vaccine, only registered medical people could give an inoculation with a needle.  Now anyone can administer the two life-saving drops.
  2. Poliomyelitis (polio) mainly affects children under five years of age.
  3. One in 200 infections leads to paralysis.  Among those paralyzed, 5 to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
  4. There is no cure for Polio, hence the global effort to prevent it by eradication of the virus.
  5. Deaths from the wild poliovirus have DECREASED by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases per year to 22 cases reported in 2017 (in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan).  As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis and possible death.
  6. As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio (only a plane ride away).  Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 cases every year in 10 years, all over the world.
  7. In most countries, this global effort has expanded our capacities to tackle other infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems.
Wawa’s first exposure to polio was in the fall of 1953 when two young Wawa men were stricken with polio and died within three months.  These men were healthy and athletic, and everyone was horrified because no one knew how they became ill.  The suspicion was that the water was involved.  It was a very boring time for the children as they were confined to their homes and yards until precautions were announced for protection. They were not allowed near Wawa Lake beach, and prevented from playing with their friends.
That same year Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine which was quickly used to vaccinate school children throughout North America and everyone was safe (or so it was thought)!
John Morrison, Rotary Club of Wawa