In recent months, a startling 13 confirmed cases of polio-induced paralysis have been reported in Syria. The 13 children, all under 2 years of age, contracted a strain of the virus originating in Pakistan, according to the World Health Organization.
This is the first polio outbreak in the region since 1999, and because of the recent conflict there, immunization rates have plummeted from over 90% to roughly 68%.
Despite a massive and popular effort to eradicate the disease over the last 25 years, cases still occur in some parts of the world, particularly where children are subject to unsanitary living conditions – like refugee camps in Syria.
These events catapult polio awareness back into mainstream media, and will hopefully lead people to seek ways to help the cause of polio eradication. One of the leading organizations in the fight to rid the world of this disease, BeyondPolio, was founded by Peter Salk and Spencer Trask, formed and launched with the help of Venture2’s Michael Docherty.
Polio is ultimately a preventable disease, and through organizations like BeyondPolio, people around the world can help get vaccines to the people who need them most, prevent child paralysis, and fulfill the mission of The Global Polio Eradication Initiative once and for all!