Gary Nolte and his spouse Cindy Nolte presented the status of Rotary in the World, which is one of the major projects of Rotary International to eradicate Polo from the earth.

    Gary Nolte and his spouse Cindy Nolte presented the status of Rotary in the World, which is one of the major projects of Rotary International to eradicate Polo from the earth.

     Polio, even though eradicated in the United States, it still exits in the world today. The disease Poliomyelitis is highly infectious and most commonly affects children under the age of 5.

    Most know it as poliovirus. 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 its partners use to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.

    Gary and Cindy reported that polio has been eradicated in all but three countries: It remains in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and services and travel or trade links to endemic countries.

    In the early 20th Century, polio was one of the most feared diseases in industrialized countries, paralyzing hundreds of thousands of children every year. Soon after the introduction of effective vaccines in the 1950s and 1960s however, polio was brought under control and practically eliminated as a public health problem in these countries.

    It took somewhat longer for polio to be recognized as a major problem in developing countries. Lameness surveys during the 1970s revealed that the disease was also prevalent in developing countries. As a result, during the 1970s routine immunization was introduced worldwide as part of national immunization programs, helping to control the disease in many developing countries.

    In 1988, when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began, polio paralyzed more than 1,000 children worldwide every day. Since then, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio thanks to the cooperation of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, backed by an international investment of more than $11 billion.

    There are now only three countries that have never stopped polio transmission and global incidence of polio cases has decreased by 99 percent.

    There has also been success in eradicating certain strains of the virus; of the three types of wild polioviruses (WPVs), the last case of type 2 was reported in 1999 and its eradication was declared in September 2015; the most recent case of type 3 dates to November 2012.

    However, tackling the last 1 percent of polio cases has still proved to be difficult. Conflict, political instability, hard-to-reach populations, and poor infrastructure continue to pose challenges to eradicating the disease. Each country offers a unique set of challenges which require local solutions. Thus, in 2013 the Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched its most comprehensive and ambitious plan for completely eradicating polio. It is an all-encompassing strategic plan that clearly outlines measures for eliminating polio in its last strongholds and for maintaining a polio-free world.   The Global Polio Eradication Initiatives major Donors include Rotary International, The World Health Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Unicef, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.