The Virgin Islands may be polio free, but that hasn’t stopped residents from working for the disease’s global eradication.

At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, a group of about 50 Rotarians, Rotaracters, and Interacters gathered at the Sunday Morning Well to hike over Joes Hill to Cane Garden Bay.

The walk was part of Rotary International’s efforts to raise funds for polio treatment and prevention around the world, according to Charles Crane, president of the Rotary Club of Road Town.

It took participants about an hour and a half to complete their trek.

“It was long,” Mr. Crane said, adding that proceeds from the fundraiser are still being tallied.

Each year, Virgin Islands Rotary Clubs organise activities, sometimes in collaboration, to raise funds, which are then sent to Rotary International for polio eradication, he said.  

Since Rotary International began its “End Polio Now,” campaign in 1985, Rotarians have raised over $1 billion. That has provided for immunisations for 2.5 billion children under the age of 5, according to the group.

“By 1988, polio had disappeared from the US, UK, Australia and much of Europe, but remained prevalent in more than 125 countries,” according to a Rotary Club of Road Town press release.

By 2012 polio was endemic to only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The viral infection is passed on from person to person, especially in unsanitary conditions.

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