Experts meet in Philadelphia to discuss future in fight to end polio

The Mütter Museum in Center City played host to Rotary International's World Polio Day event.

Justin Udo
October 24, 2018 - 10:12 pm
World Polio Day

Justin Udo | KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Even though there have been great strides made in combating polio, there is still a long ways to go. An effort to eradicate the disease from around the globe took center stage in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

The Mütter Museum in Center City played host to Rotary International's World Polio Day event, where they highlighted current work being done to fight the infectious disease.

"In 1988, there were some 350,000 cases of polio every year," said Carol Pandak, with Rotary's Polio Eradication Program, "and last year there were only 22."

Pandak says even though there has been fight back from some parents with vaccinating their children, the polio vaccine has not come under fire. 

"They've seen what polio can do," she said, "and it causes paralyses in children."

Pandak says the polio-like virus (acute flaccid myelitis) that's responsible for at least 155 illnesses around the country is on their radar, but they're letting the Centers for Disease Control tackle it.

RELATED: 155 cases of polio-like illness now under investigation, CDC says

"The important thing about that is it not caused by the Polio virus," she explained. "The symptoms are similar."

Their mission now, Pandak says, focuses on getting polio out of the few places it's currently in and keeping it from making a comeback.

"Our next step is to ensure that we access all children in areas that are difficult to reach," she said.