Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. In environments with poor levels of hygiene and water quality, and close proximity to sewage, the virus has an easy way to infect people. Most people infected with polio have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.
There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). There are currently 125 countries, mostly developing countries, using OPV exclusively, which while effective and easy to administer through oral drops, can in very rare occasions result in vaccine derived poliovirus. Between the years 2014-2015 these countries are scheduled to introduce one dose of IPV, which is delivered through injection, to boost immunity in preparation for the eventual withdrawal of OPV.
The Global Polio Eradication Intiative (GPEI) is a major global health partnership that includes the U.S. government, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and Rotary. GPEI works through routine immunization, mass-campaigns, and catch up campaigns to immunize children in developing countries. The world is 99% polio free with the disease endemic in just three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Shot@Life fundraises to support GPEI. Since the launch of the campaign, Shot@Life is on track to raise enough funding to help immunize more than 380,000 children from polio.* Additionally, Shot@Life advocates to the U.S. government to ensure that they remain an active partner and funder of GPEI.
Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age.
One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis.
Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988.
Polio anywhere is a threat everywhere — as long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting the disease.
Global Polio Eradication Initiative:
http://www.polioeradication.org/Polioandprevention.aspx World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/
*Funds raised through 2015