Posted by Carl Gerhardt on Oct 31, 2018
On 10/30/2018, District 5910 Polio Plus Chair, Mike Berger, provided an update to the members of the Magnolia Rotary Club. Pictured above is Mike Berger.
Mike Berger started his presentation by asking everyone if they knew what Polio does to the human body. Mike explained that Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system causing weakness or paralysis of muscles in the body. Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group. Therefore, they are targeted for the Polio vaccine in the last two countries that still have new cases of Polio in 2018. These countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Currently, there are only 22 new cases of the wild Polio virus in the world. In 1988, when the war on polio started, there were over 350,000 cases of the wild Polio virus in the world. Unfortunately, the 22 new cases of Polio in 2018 is the same number in 2017. Therefore, the bad news is that the number has not decreased but the good news is that the number also has not increased.
Mike then informed everyone that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was started in 1988 and its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
Mike told everyone that some people consider Nigeria in the list of countries that are at risk because they had an outbreak several years ago but have been without a re-occurrence in the last two years.
Mike told everyone that the reasons it has been so difficult to eradicate the small number of Polio cases in the world is that these two countries are in war torn nations and their population is very suspicious of any western medicine and in many cases simply refuse to use the vaccine. In fact, eradication is dependent upon residents of those two countries since westerners are not welcome there.
Mike told everyone that some people have said that we have new cases of wild Polio in the United States. However, Mike pointed out that this is a mistake that the press has started by stating that a "Polio like virus" has been discovered in the U.S. The "Polio like virus" is actually Lou Garig's disease which is similar to Polio in that it attacks the muscles in a human body. But it is not Polio!
Mike than told everyone that he personally gives 10% of his sales commission (he is a realtor) to Polio eradication every year because he thinks it is that important! He then told the Magnolia Rotary Club that he would match up to $500 of funds raised by the Magnolia Rotary Club between now and the end of the year.
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