Squamish honours World Polio Day

Rotary Club of Squamish will be fundraising on Oct. 24

The District has declared Oct. 24 World Polio Day in Squamish.

Globally, the day is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who in 1955 led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.

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The “End Polio Now” flag will fly above municipal hall for the day, and the Rotary Club of Squamish will again have End Polio booths in the Chieftain Mall and Garibaldi Village providing information and the opportunity to give donations. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will triple all donations.

“It has been 65 years since the local Squamish hospital was filled with polio victims during the 1953 epidemic," said Brian Finley, of the Rotary Club of Squamish in a news release. "Here, this terrible disease is now mostly forgotten or a distant memory. But there are still places in the world where polio is paralyzing and even killing children.”

Polio mainly affects children under five years of age, according to the World Health Organization.

Thanks to vaccination programs, polio cases have decreased by over 99 per cent.

In 1988, there was an estimated 350,000 cases in more than 125 countries. There were 22 reported cases in 2017.

Squamish has contributed over US$61,000 to the End Polio campaign.

Those funds have paid for the immunization of over 100,000 children, according to Findley.

 

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