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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2014-03-29 15:55:47
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India declared polio-free

March 29, 2014 - The World Health Organization has formally declared India to be polio-free, with no new cases of the disease detected in the country in the past three years. WHO said Thursday that the milestone means it now considers the entire Southeast Asian region, home to a quarter of the world's population, to be free of the disease.

India's decades-old battle against polio involved a rigorous vaccination campaign carried out by nearly 2.5 million health workers, doctors and volunteers. It was accompanied by a government-funded advertising blitz that took the message of the importance of polio inoculations to villages and towns across the Indian subcontinent. India's last case of the wild polio virus was detected in January 2011 in a two-year-old girl in the state of West Bengal. Three years without any new cases means a country can be certified as polio-free.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only countries in the world left where the virus remains endemic, largely due to violent conflicts, weak health systems and poor sanitation. Until the 1950s, polio crippled thousands every year in rich countries. It attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. The highly contagious virus often spreads in areas with poor sanitation and children under five are the most vulnerable.


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