At its regular meeting Monday afternoon, the Greensburg Rotary Club announced the worldwide observance of World Polio Day Oct. 24.
According to materials provided to the Daily News, Rotary first joined the worldwide effort to eradicate Polio in 1985. At that time, 350,000 people in 125 countries were afflicted.
By 2011, however, the number had been reduced to 700 cases.
In addressing Monday’s meeting at the Greensburg Country Club, Rotary member and Greensburg-Decatur County Executive Director Jeff Emsweller held up the thumb and forefinger of one hand in close proximity.
“We are this close,” he said, “to ending Polio for good.”
Still, although, the World Health Organization cites only 171 new cases so far reported in 2012, the battle to end the disease isn’t over, Emsweller added.
In fact, according to the materials, if the disease isn’t eradicated as quickly as possible, “more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years.”
More, the single-dose, life-long vaccine can be administered to a single child for “as little as $0.60.”
Rotary and it’s partners — The World Health Organization, UNICEF, CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — having already vaccinated some 2.5 billion people, are therefore pressing on to end Polio for all time, the materials state.
For more information about the battle to end Polio and how to help, visit www.endpolionow.org.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.