The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide. Today, we take a closer look at a key partner, the U.S-based Centers for Disease Control.


The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to protect people from health threats by conducting critical scientific research and supplying health information. CDC provides scientific and technical expertise to the GPEI through the Global Immunization Division (GID), Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory, and Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) teams. GID staff works jointly with WHO, UNICEF, and other GPEI partners, as well as national Ministries of Health, to plan and monitor polio surveillance and immunization activities in countries, and supports other eradication projects, such as tracking disease transmission trends and vaccine efficacy research.

The Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory in CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases is a WHO Global Specialized Laboratory and delivers technical and programmatic assistance to the Global Polio Laboratory Network. CDC’s labs provide critical diagnostic services, perform genomic sequencing of polioviruses to guide eradication efforts, and help overcome specific operational challenges to enable more rapid detection of wild poliovirus and allow for faster outbreak response. STOP staffers help build capacity for acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, the gold-standard for detecting polio, as well as plan, implement, and evaluate immunization campaigns, in collaboration with GPEI partners.

The CDC covers an incredibly wide range of activities to protect people from health threats not only in the US, but as all Rotarians know, globally as well.  The reason for the international focus of the US-based center becomes obvious when one considers the implications of easily-accessible world-wide air travel and the refugee and population movement flows currently being experienced about the world.


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