Polio Watch (Sept 2016)
by Polio Eradication Co-Chair Joan Fisher

Polio eradication has endured an unfortunate setback in Nigeria. Two confirmed cases of type 1 of the virus came to
light in July. Prior to this detection, there had been no new cases of polio in Nigeria since July 24, 2014.

While these cases are isolated to the state of Borno, they are linked to a strain of the virus last detected in Borno in
2011. This demonstrates the insidiousness of the polio virus that can go undetected for 5 years and then paralyze two
innocent children.
Borno has been victim of civil unrest in recent years, suggesting pockets of children may not have
been vaccinated. Local gaps in surveillance to identify the disease may also have existed, allowing the virus to
continue circulating. To combat this latest outbreak, Nigeria’s government has stepped up immunization through
five, large scale vaccination campaigns taking place from August to November and strengthening surveillance across
Borno and at-risk communities.
To reduce the risk of the spread of the virus, immunization campaigns are also being
launched in the surrounding countries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic.
Globally, as of July 13, 2016, 21 new cases of polio have been identified. There are 13 cases in Pakistan, 6 cases in
Afghanistan and 2 in Nigeria. At the same time last year there were 36 cases. Fundraising is one of the key ways to
combat the spread of this disease. Rotarians are encouraged to sponsor Past District Governor Tanya Wolff as she
participates in her 5th marathon, The Scotiabank Toronto Marathon, on Sunday, October 15th to “End Polio Now”.
Rotarian donors receive a tax receipt and their Paul Harris Fellow points.
Contact Tanya at: pdgtanya@gmail.com.