Since 1985, Rotary and its partners have reduced the number of cases by 99.9 percent worldwide from 350,000 annually to 70 cases in 2016, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they remain committed until the disease is eradicated.  When the disease is eliminated, it will be only the second infectious disease to achieve this distinction, the first one being small pox.  Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects young children, under the age of 5. Most know it as poliovirus or just Polio. The virus is spread person-to-person, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system, and in some instances, lead to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine – one which Rotary and our partners used to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.
 
Rotary launched its polio immunization program, PolioPlus, in 1985 and in 1988 became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million a year. 
 
Since 1985, Rotary and its partners have reduced the number of cases by 99.9 percent worldwide from 350,000 annually to 70 cases in 2016, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they remain committed until the disease is eradicated.  When the disease is eliminated, it will be only the second infectious disease to achieve this distinction, the first one being small pox.
 
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