MILTON — World Polio Day is Oct. 24 and Milton Rotary Club members are among millions of international club members who have worked over the last 30 years to seek the eradication of polio.
Polio is a virus spread person to person typically through contaminated water. It attacks the nervous system and sometimes leads to paralysis. It most commonly affects children under 5 years old, according to www.endpolio.org.
The Milton Rotary Club has taken part in the effort through fundraising efforts such as the Purple Pinky Project, according to 30-year Rotarian Greg Powell.
“It goes back to third-world countries,” Powell said. “(To) recognize when people voted or were inoculated, they would have to dip their finger in purple ink. We took it to the next level and painted on fingers. We went to local elementary schools and, for a $1 donation, we would paint their fingers and donate the dollar to the Polio Plus Program.”
Polio cases are down 99 percent since 1988, according to www.endpolio.org, but polio is not eradicated yet.
“Vaccines are the low budget part of the whole thing,” Powell said. “It’s just the cost of getting it out there…The perspective as Americans is we can put it on the radio or TV, but that doesn’t happen in third-world countries.
"That’s where we have to stop polio. We have to get into boats or vehicles or on foot and get it to the people.”