Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

India Remobilizes against Polio

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

India Remobilizes against Polio

Article excerpt

In the last five days of July, 1.79 million children received polio drops in the neighbouring states of Assam and Meghalaya in eastern India. A second five-day immunization campaign would start on 31 August , WHO officials said.

The drive was occasioned by the detection of a wild poliovirus in Goalpara in western Assam in June this year, in the course of routine surveillance.

Arun Thapa, WHO's adviser for polio in the South-East Asia Region, says that the virus probably reached Assam--where there had been no cases for two years--from neighbouring Bihar, where there were 121 cases last year.

One case of polio may not sound alarming. But health officials warn that even one case, if undetected, can infect hundreds of children, each one of whom can infect hundreds more.

"We are taking this threat of polio very seriously," says the Chief Minister of Assam, Bhumidhar Barman, "We are doing all that we can to ensure that the virus does not spread." This includes awareness campaigns on the need for immunization, conducted with the help of schoolchildren, teachers, village leaders and government health workers.

According to Sunil Balal, WHO's Immunization Coordinator, the July-August immunization programme--in 7 districts in Assam and 5 in Meghalaya--has been successful so far in most areas, though still falling 7-9% short of the 100% coverage needed. …

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