End Polio Now “We are this close”

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a serious disease caused by a virus the affect’s a person’s nervous system, by causing paralysis and death. Polio is mainly spread by ingesting items that are contaminated by an infected person. Polio can also be spread through, water, and uncooked food.  It mainly affects children younger than 5 years old, but all unvaccinated people of any age are at risk.

In the late 40’s and early 50’s polio crippled around 35,000 people each year in the United States.  It was the most feared disease of the twentieth century. By 1979 the United States became polio free.

Because Dr Jonas Salk knew he had a highly effective vaccine in 1953, he vaccinated his wife and sons against the disease. It became available to the general public in 1955. Dr. Salk and the March of Dimes brought relief to the nation. When  President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March od Dimes in 1938, he could not have imagined that on the 10th Anniversary of his death, April 12, 1955 it would facilitate a medical miracle that was to reduce the incidence rate of polio in the U.S. by 96 percent.

“We are this Close.”  This is the campaign for Rotary International.  Now the polio vaccine must make it to those who are hardest to reach in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan where the disease still exists.  In 2010 India reported forty-two cases. In 2011 only one case was reported. If India makes it to December 31, 2012,with no cases, it will be celebrated as having irradiated polio.

linda at Rotary meeting

Linda at 11th Rotary Foundation Celebration District 5960

Polio vaccination campaigns take place about every six weeks in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  More than 50,000 teams fan out across 60 districts to inoculate millions of children.  It is the most remote villages in the world.  The vaccine travels primarily by jeeps until the road runs out. Then donkeys, horses and boats and the teams take it to the children to give doses of the vaccine every 3 to 6 months.  The vaccine is kept cold in ice filled cooler for transportation.

Eradication of polio is a global goal.  The entire world must receive the vaccine to “End Polio Now”.  “We are this Close” to reaching the last 1%. Please help the Polio Plus program, sponsored by Rotary International, to make this happen. Polio is only a plane ride away until all children world wide receive the vaccine.

Vaccine recommendations: Infants and Children. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all infants and children in the United States should receive 4 doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) administered at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years of age. This information is current as of October 18, 2012. Vaccinated adults who travel to an ‘at risk’ area should receive an adult booster dose before departure. Unvaccinated adults should consult their doctor before departure.