By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Until the mid-1950s, “polio” was a frightening word to America and the world.
Breakthrough vaccines and mass immunizations that continued through the 1960s helped to bring polio to a virtual standstill in our country, and in time, across the globe.
But three countries still have problems with the disease. That’s why Rotary International clubs worldwide — and in Corbin — continue the fight to end polio.
The Corbin Rotary Club did their part to make their cause official Monday morning, when some of their members joined club president Vonda Moore at City Hall. There, they watched as Mayor Willard McBurney signed a proclamation, making this Thursday “World Polio Day in Corbin.”
Moore said there’s good reasons to end the threat of polio — over 60 years since Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was discovered and developed.
“Why now? If we don’t end the threat of polio now, experts say the disease could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years. And ending the polio threat’s achievable, because while there’s no cure for polio, the vaccine does successfully prevent cases. Many Americans feared polio and it’s crippling effects on children until the Salk vaccine was widespread. Once polio is eradicated worldwide, that sets the stage for the next big global health initiative,” she pointed out.
Moore added Rotarians in Corbin and around the world are part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a campaign dedicated to fighting the disease until every child is safe.
The campaign was formed in 1988, and includes Rotary, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, world governments and the World Health Organization in a public-private partnership.
“Polio anywhere is a risk to children everywhere. It’s our chance to make history by wiping out this disease. Since Rotary joined the “PolioPlus” program more than a quarter-century ago, we and our partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide. We are, as they say, ‘this close’ to ending polio,” she noted.
In the world, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan are the three remaining countries where the wild polio virus hasn’t been stopped.
Rotary International’s website reported that in 2012, fewer than 250 polio cases were reported across the globe. That’s down dramatically since the 1980’s, when around 1,000 cases were reported per day.
But because of factors like poor public infrastructure, cultural barriers, geographical isolation and armed conflict, Rotary stated the cases in the remaining one percent of the world are the most difficult to prevent.
Like all Rotarians, Moore feels the fight to end polio is a good investment.
“Rotary Clubs from here in Corbin to around the world have together raised more than $1 billion toward eradicating polio. We’ve committed countless volunteer hours to fight polio, and the world has invested $9 billion towards polio eradication. An independent study published in the medical journal ‘Vaccine’ estimated the net economic benefits at $40 billion to $50 billion over the next 20 years. It’s a savings that can be used toward fighting other diseases, and the infrastructure from polio immunization also strengthens the systems for other health interventions worldwide,” she said.
World Polio Day will be discussed this Thursday at the Corbin Rotary Club’s weekly meeting, held at noon at David’s Steakhouse. More information is available by calling Moore at 539-4923, or by contacting any Rotary member.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Twin girls Brooklyn and Brandy Clontz sit on Santa’s lap at the Laurel County Public Library’s annual Holiday Kickoff.
Sharing the Spirit
The Laurel County Public Library held its Holiday Kickoff Thursday from 3:30-7 p.m. The celebration included children 10 and under getting pictures taken with Santa, refreshments and performances by pianist Earlene Vance and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinatti.
- Sharing the Spirit
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- Local Sports
The Corbin Lady Redhounds returned to action in their second round match of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament. Corbin entered the contest riding off an 86-point, hard-fought scoring effort in Wednesday's victory over Harlan.
There was really no question North Laurel would make short work of young Riverside Christian. The Jaguars picked up an 82-25 win Thursday with a running clock starting late in the first half.
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Stacie Eichinger brings out her "Walk 4 Courage" buggy and beads she's selling outside the West Knox Volunteer Fire and Rescue station Wednesday, to pose with the crew. Those in the picture include Chief Darryl Baker and his son.
Raising money for ill children, Stacie sets foot at West Knox firehouse
Moments after Stacie Eichinger got to the West Knox Volunteer Fire and Rescue station on a warm Wednesday afternoon, priority one was to lose the shoes.
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Authors Steve Vest (left) and James B. Goode (right) discuss the making of the holiday book, "Kentucky's Twelve Days of Christmas."
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For an hour Monday, voices filled with the written words of Christmases past filtered through the Corbin Public Library.
- Season’s Readings: Christmas book tour stops in Corbin