What is polio?
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.
Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.
As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.
Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.
Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.
Explore the history of Rotary and polio eradication
By the numbers
average cost to fully protect a child against polio
children in total vaccinated in 39 countries in 2017
cost to conduct polio surveillance worldwide
Every donation helps us obtain the vaccines, transport and materials needed in the fight against polio.
Get informed and help make polio a subject of conversation in your community.
Most people don't know that polio still affects children around the world. Help spread the word.