WE’RE ZEROING IN ON THE POLIOVIRUS
 
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Rotary's PolioPlus program. It's been over three years since we've seen Type 3 wild polio in the world, which means that this particular strain has most likely disappeared forever.  There were fewer cases last year than ever in history: 70 wild-type cases, and 26 cases caused by mutation in the weakened virus that makes up one of the vaccines, compared to 341 wild-type infections and 51 vaccine-derived ones the year before. Moreover, those wild natural infections were in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the vaccine-derived cases were in five. The noose is tightening.
 
Maryn McKenna, who is an award-winning journalist, recently posted a National Geographic article providing an update on the worldwide effort to end polio.  In the article she stated that "The most that health authorities can hope for this year is to end transmission of polio. The ultimate goal is eradication, which has happened only twice—for one human disease, smallpox, and one animal one, rinderpest. To declare a disease eradicated requires that the entire world go three years without a case being recorded. If there are no polio cases in 2016, eradication might be achieved by the end of 2018."
 
In Maryn's article, she highlighted responses when she "asked Carol Pandak, director of the Polio Plus program at Rotary International — which since 1988 has lent millions of volunteers and more than a billion dollars to the eradication campaign —  how she thinks the next 12 months will go."  The result of that interview sparked enthusiasm for pressing hard toward our goal and encouraging donations through the End Polio Now web site.