India achieves polio-free year

India on Thursday completed one polio-free year as the last case of polio was detected in West Bengal exactly a year ago.

The country has to remain polio free for the next three consecutive years before it qualifies for the World Health Organisation's polio-free certificate.

The lone case of polio in 2011 was detected in a two year old girl in Panchla block of
Howrah, West Bengal, with the onset of paralysis on January 13, 2011. Besides India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria remain the only countries that never stopped transmission of polio-virus, which cripples and sometimes kills young children.

India, however, was the largest contributor till about a year back and also exported polio virus to other countries. However, as India spent close to Rs 12,000 crore to intensify the pulse polio campaign to get the desired results, the next challenge would be to keep up the momentum for the next two years, said health ministry officials.

Progress

Substantial progress was made in the last two years as India with 741 cases accounted for nearly half the global cases in 2009.

Depending on the location and the nature of infections both mono-valent and bivalent polio vaccines are being used to tackle more dangerous type-1 as well as both type-1 and type-3 together respectively.

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