Posted by Rotary International on Oct 05, 2020

This year, World Polio Day is observed on October 24. This annual observance was established by Rotary International in order to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, the developer of a vaccine against polio.

While poliomyelitis was known since the ancient times, the first clinical description of the disease was provided only by English physician Michael Underwood in 1789. The virus stroked the developed countries at the end of the 19th century, and at the beginning of the 20th century appeared in the U.S. and Europe. The disease reached its peak during the 1950s, when it started to shift from infants to children aged from five to nine.

Polio affects the further life of those children who once suffered it. The first efficient attempts to fight the virus were made in 1955 by Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop and test the inactivated vaccine.

Salk's inactivated vaccine and Albert Bruce Sabin's oral vaccine helped save thousands of children. The use of the vaccines led to establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which has reduced the worldwide cases of polio by 99 percent.

World Polio Day actions to take

To learn more about Rotary’s work to end polio, and find out what you can do to helpclick here.

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