The centenary of the birth of Jonas Salk, best known for a vaccine that almost eradicated a highly-infectious crippling disease, poliomyelitis, falls on 28 Oct 2014.
Pockets of the disease remain. It is endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, and has resurfaced in several other countries. The infections reported in Syria have caused particular concern because the war has interrupted mass vaccination efforts. It is reported to be spreading inside the country, and there is a risk that refugees could carry the infection into neighboring countries and even to distant destinations such as Europe and North America. The centenary begs the question of why Salk, who died at 80 in 1995, was never awarded the Nobel Prize and why he didn't patent the polio vaccine. The Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation is among organizations that will organize centenary events.
Date written/update: 2013-11-20