What is polio?

Rotary clubs around the world have been working for years to eradicate polio, once a global scourge causing paralysis, respiratory difficulties, even death.

But, younger people might ask, what exactly is polio? Not an unheard-of question for people who did not grow up in a world in which polio often hit communities just as measles, chicken pox, and other diseases did before immunizations sharply reduced their frequency.

Polio is not curable, but it is preventable with a rigorous program of oral vaccination. Over the years, we have been able to shrink its spread to the point at which, except for occasional isolated cases, it occurs in only two nations — Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, diligent immunization efforts need to be made to keep it in check everywhere else, especially in an age of easy international travel that allows diseases to be rapidly transmitted.

But, back to the main question: What IS polio?

This video is a thorough explanation of polio and its effects, even years after the initial onset.