Polio, a disease most of us had forgotten about, has recently been in the news following discovery that it has partially paralyzed a young man in Rockland County.  It has also been found in wastewater samples in New York City, Rockland County and Orange County NY.  This means that a measurable number of people are carrying the disease in the New York/New Jersey area.
 
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.  For decades the virus terrorized people, causing paralysis among thousands of American children each year and many more worldwide. After the first vaccine arrived in 1955, the number of cases dropped dramatically.  The US was declared polio-free in 1979, but it continued to spread around the world.
 
You may be surprised to know that Rotary International Rotary has been at the center of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio for over three decades. Every year, through our funding partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary commits $150 million to the global effort to eradicate polio. We have contributed more than $2.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to end polio forever. Together with our partners, we engage communities everywhere to encourage high vaccination rates, immunizing over 400 million children annually. More than 20 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralyzed because of our efforts and those of our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
 

The Rotary Club of Blairstown has recently introduced our Pennies for Polio program, which you can learn about on our Facebook page, and we are preparing for World Polio Day on Monday October 24.  We will be working to help educate the community and raise money for this important cause that has once again surfaced too close to home.  Watch this page for more information.