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India Polio Free For 9 Months, Raising Hopes Of Eradication, Health Experts Say

“India has not had a case of polio in nine months, raising hopes the country is on the verge of defeating the disease, health officials said Monday,” the Associated Press reports. “India remains one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, and the nine months that it has been without a case is the longest since eradication efforts were launched nearly two decades ago,” the AP writes, adding, “A country is declared polio free when no cases of the disease are reported for three years, according to the World Health Organization.”

“India’s success has followed ‘persistent efforts over the last few years in the highest-risk areas and in reaching the most vulnerable populations, such as newborns, migrants and mobile populations,'” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, according to the news service. “The government is aware, however, that a slip could lead to a resurgence of the disease,” and “Azad said an immunization campaign continues in all high-risk areas and any new case would be declared a public health emergency,” the AP adds (10/24).