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Ellison Foundation Pledges $100 Million Donation to End Polio

Polio is still most commonly found in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said. Photographer: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Polio is still most commonly found in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said. Photographer: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Lawrence Ellison Foundation, created by Oracle Corp.’s chief executive, pledged $100 million toward the effort to eliminate polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said in a statement.

The donation, $20 million of which was given last year, will help fund the initiative’s $5.5 billion, six-year plan to eradicate the disease, the group said in the statement. Nine other philanthropic groups have made pledges totaling $535 million, in addition to a $1.8 billion commitment made by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for efforts between 2013 and 2018, the GPEI said.

Polio is still most commonly found in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, the group said. Four hundred cases were reported last year, the majority of those in Somalia, according to the initiative’s website. India is now considered polio-free after no reports of new cases in three years, the initiative said.

The polio virus, which is spread through feces, attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, and death in as many as 10 percent of its victims. There is no cure.

The initiative said more than 35 government and private donors pledged $4 billion to help eradicate polio at a summit last April in Abu Dhabi.

Larry Ellison is the founder and the biggest shareholder of Oracle, which supplies databases, business applications and computer servers. He ranks eighth in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $42.6 billion, down $1.1 billion this year.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a partnership between the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrea Snyder at asnyder5@bloomberg.net

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