Warsaw Rotary Celebrates The Life Of Dr. Jonas Salk

Dr. Jonas Salk would have been 100 on October 28th.  Physician and developer of the polio vaccine, Salk attacked the dreaded disease whose main victims were children but also included President Franklin Roosevelt.  Salk chose not to patent his 1955 vaccine to make it affordable to the masses.  As a result it is estimated that he gave up earning 7 billion dollars.  He was born in New York City to Jewish parents.  He graduated from New York University School of Medicine in 1939 and chose to go into research instead of being a practicing physician.  During World War II he worked to develop a flu vaccine at the request of the U.S. Army.  By 1947, he was appointed the director of the Virus Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he developed the techniques to discover the vaccine for polio.  Before his vaccine was made widely available the average number of polio cases was more than 45,000 in the United States.  By 1962, that number had dropped to 910.  According to the World Health Organization, “Polio does still exist, although polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated more than 350,000 cases to 416 reported cases in 2013. This reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease. Today, only 3 countries in the world have never stopped transmission of polio (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan).”  Rotary International developed the “Polio Plus” program in the mid-1980’s to encourage their members to give to the Rotary Foundation to eradicate polio from the earth.  Rotary International now is promoting “End Polio Now” to attain the goal of a polio free world.  The Warsaw Rotary Club celebrates the life of Dr. Jonas Salk and his impact on the health of the world in fighting this dreaded disease.  For more information go to www.warsawrotary.com.