Web Zap*Germs Archive

June 22, 2005

Polio Cases Increase in Yemen & Indonesia

Yemen and Indonesia were polio-free for several years until 2003, but have reported new cases after a vaccine boycott in Nigeria that is blamed for spreading the disease to other countries. Now Yemen has 243 cases (about half the world's total so far this year), and Indonesia's load has grown to 51.

Nigeria has had 169 cases of polio this year; vaccination programs restarted in Nigeria in July 2004 after local officials ended the 11-month boycott.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) started its international campaign in 1988 to eliminate polio through mass immunization, the number of cases reported annually dropped from 350,000 to 1,267 in 2004. Read more.

Rotary International has been a major contributor to the eradication effort, giving more than US$600 million and immunization workers worldwide. Yesterday the WHO recognized Rotary's "unprecedented role in the fight to end polio worldwide." At Rotary’s Centennial celebrations in Chicago, the organizations comprising the Global Polio Eradication Initiative presented Rotary with a statue symbolizing the drops of oral polio vaccine that protect children from the disease. Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of CDC, said "the day the world is declared polio-free, we will all have Rotary International to thank." It's believed that day could occur in 2006.


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