What Is Polio?
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.
The fight to end polio is led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which includes Rotary, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world, with the support of many others around the globe.
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.
The only way to end polio is together.
Containing polio to just 2 countries is a tremendous achievement, and proof of what’s possible when we come together. Help us shine a spotlight on polio by advocating, fundraising, and educating on the need to end polio now.