An Egyptian tablet portrays a priest with a withered leg, suggesting polio.
German doctor Jacob von Heine investigates polio and suggests the disease may be contagious.
An outbreak of infantile paralysis – subsequently identified as polio – sweeps the US.
A New York polio epidemic receives worldwide attention, thus accelerating research into how the disease is spread.
Thomas Weller and Frederick Robbins grow poliovirus in live cells, work for which they later receive a Nobel Prize.
Dr Jonas Salk develops the first vaccine against polio – an injectable, inactivated (killed) polio vaccine.
A “live” oral vaccine against polio is developed by Dr Albert Sabin. It rapidly becomes the vaccine of choice.
Rotary International pledges $US120 million to its fund, PolioPlus.
The World Health Assembly launches the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
WHO certifies the Americas polio-free.
420 million African children are vaccinated during National Immunisation Days.
August 17-20, 1999
Warring factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo agree to a three-day ceasefire to accommodate for national immunisation.
Around 80% of the country’s ten million children receive the vaccine.
The Western Pacific is certified polio-free. A record 550 million children receive the oral polio vaccine.
Europe is certified polio-free.
On the International Day of Peace (September 21), 1.4 million children are vaccinated in Afghanistan.
Polio eradication becomes the World Health Organisation’s “top operational priority”.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting takes place in Perth and polio is tabled as a priority.