What exactly is polio?
- A crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, polio (poliomyelitis) still strikes children mainly under the age of five in countries in Asia and Africa.
- Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. Because there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US$0.60 worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.
- It can cause paralysis within hours, and polio paralysis is almost always irreversible.
- In the most severe cases, polio attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, causing breathing difficulty or even death.
- Historically, polio has been the world’s greatest cause of disability.
If polio isn’t eradicated, the world will continue to live under the threat of the disease. More than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years if the world fails to capitalize on its US$9 billion global investment in eradication.
View a timeline of polio.
Rotary’s PolioPlus Program Fact Sheet (PDF)