An unusual and outdated piece of medical equipment will be on display in a shopping centre this weekend to highlight the impact of a lethal virus.

The Thornbury Rotary Club will be bringing an Iron Lung display to Cribbs Causeway on Saturday and Sunday.

The display is part of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign that aims to raise aweness of the need to eliminate the lethal virus from the world by immunizing 90 per cent of children under five.

An iron lung, known in medical terms as a negative pressure ventilator, is a piece of equipment that helps a person breathe.

The huge piece of machinery features pressurised cylinders which create a vacuum to push oxygen into a person’s lungs.

Following the polio outbreaks of the early twentieth century, the image of a polio patient with their head poking out from an iron lung became visually synonymous with the virus.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Mr Paige Warr, Mr Richard Hiscock, and Professor Ben Bradley from Thornbury Rotary Club

Most patients required the equipment for one or two weeks. But others, such as Randolph, whose lungs were permanently damaged, required an iron lung long-term.

Although the number of actual cases of polio in the world is small, the virus still lingers in water and sewerage in many countries, awaiting a chance to infect non-vaccinated people. The virus only multiplies and spreads in non-immune humans, but if 90 per cent or more of the population is vaccinated the virus will have nowhere to multiply and eventually die out for good.

Rotary International, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organisation, have spent 40 years campaigning to eliminate the disease from the world.

It will be on display outside the Top Shop entrance to the Mall at Cribbs Causeway on February 16 and 17.