Happy Birthday, Jonas Salk! Google Doodle Honors Scientist Known For Polio Vaccine

First Posted: Oct 28, 2014 02:09 PM EDT

Today, October 28th, marks the 100th birth anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk--an incredible scientist who developed the first Polio vaccine. Google Doodle honors the day, showing children holding up a board that says ‘Thank you, Dr. Salk.'

Thanks to the polio vaccine, this health problem has now been eradicated in many countries-though it remains a health issue in some areas due to obstacles in funding and infrastructure. Furthermore, there have been recent issues with polio outbreaks.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) campaign to eradicate polio reduced incidence rates by more than 99 percent between 1988 and 2013 between 2013 and 2014, investigators saw an 86 percent increase in wild polio virus (WPV) cases worldwide, according to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Furthermore, in 2012, there were 223 cases in 5 countries, and in 2013, the number rose to 416 cases in 8 countries.

Yet back in the 1950s, when the U.S. was dealing with its worst polio outbreak, Salk was appointed as the director of the Virus Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he utilized most of his time discovering a vaccine for the health problem. The vaccine's helped save the lives of many, thanks to Salks amazing discovery. 

Today, a symposium began at the William Pitt Union Assembly Room starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. Several speakers will be talking throughout the day, including Peter Salk, Dr. Salk's son and president of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, John Derbach, professor at the Widener School of Law, Karen Feinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and Allison Robinson, director of the environmental initiatives for UPMC.

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