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In India, Major Reduction Seen In Polio Since 2009, WHO Says On World Polio Day

There has been a significant reduction in the number of polio cases diagnosed in India this year compared with the same time last year, the WHO said on World Polio Day Sunday, IANS/Sify News reports.

“According to WHO, India has reported 39 polio cases to date in 2010, compared to 498 at the same time last year,” the news service writes. Hamid Jafari, project manager of the WHO’s National Polio Surveillance Project, attributed the “rapid decline” to an “intense schedule of mass vaccination” in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other “high-risk areas.” Jafari also said the introduction of the bivalent vaccine early this year has helped control polio type 1 and type 3 (10/24).

So far this year, 16 cases of type 1 polio have been reported, according to the WHO, IBNLive writes. In 2009, there were 51 cases of type 1 polio. Twenty-three cases of type 3 polio have been diagnosed this year compared to 343 last year (Shalini, 10/24). Recent cases of polio transmission in India were reported in “Murshidabad (West Bengal) and the adjoining district of Pakur (Jharkhand), Nasik and Beed districts of Maharashtra, and East Champaran district of Bihar, close to a polio infected district of Nepal,” IANS/Sify News writes (10/24).

But despite India’s progress, TheMedGuru notes funding concerns for the global eradication campaign. The World Health Assembly recently highlighted the $1.3 billion or 50 percent funding shortfall for eradication efforts over the next three years. In addition, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has said: “The next three years, and especially the next 12 months, are critical to the polio eradication initiative and, by extension, the entire international public health agenda.” The article also notes Rotary International’s role in the global fight against polio (Kapoor, 10/24).

Meanwhile, health officials in Pakistan have detected 97 polio cases this year, eight more than detected the previous year, the Express Tribune reports. “The country is ahead of India (39 cases), Nigeria (8 cases) and Afghanistan (18 cases). Only Tajikistan is higher, following a devastating outbreak leading to 458 new cases earlier this year,” the publication writes (10/24).

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