• Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

World Polio Day: Working together to end polio

Oct. 24 is World Polio Day, a global initiative that raises awareness about the devastating effects of polio. Organizations around the globe urge political leaders for an increased commitment to end polio.

The worldwide observance, held annually on October 24, marks the birthday of Jonas Salk, the “inventor” of the polio vaccine. Salk never earned any money from his life-saving discovery. Albert Sabin developed an oral version of the polio vaccine in 1988.

In 1985, poliomyelitis (polio) affected 350,000 children in 125 countries and between 1840 and 1950, polio was a global epidemic. According to the Rotary, the infectious disease is spread by direct person-to-person contact, usually strikes children under five and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours and even death. Because there is no cure, the best prevention is the vaccine. While the vaccines have dramatically reduced the devastating effects of polio by 99 percent, outbreaks still occur.

Today is also National Bologna Day and Good and Plenty Day.