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Rotarians ring bell for polio awareness


Wilmington Rotary Clubs celebrated their 105th birthday today by honoring Polio Awareness Week. Rotarian's went to the food court at Independence Mall to raise polio awareness.

For every donation of 60 cents, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo rang the Rotary Club's bell. Sixty cents can pay for one vile of polio vaccine, which can vaccinate 20 children.

Although the disease is no longer in the United States, it remains in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. Some of Wilmington's Rotary members just returned from a trip to India, where they helped vaccinate children.

"One of the the very, very moving experiences was to see a young girl, 16 years old, that had never walked in her life because she had polio," Vince Juric said. "Then she was operated on three months earlier, and for the first time in her life she was able to stand. So that was very moving."

Polio Awareness Week runs through Sunday.

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Polio Vaccines spreading mutated virus

The only cases of polio in the US over the past 50 years comes from the vaccine.

Outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio are unusual but not unheard of.

Individual cases have been known for years. For example, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia was partly paralyzed in 1973, apparently after changing the diapers of his son, who had received an oral vaccine.

The polio virus is mutating and is not vulnerable to the vaccines.