Polio officially defeated in India



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Spread of polio infections is officially considered stopped

India has long been considered the global epicenter for polio, but efforts to fight viral infectious disease have borne fruit. For three years, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) announcement, no new cases of polio infection have occurred in India. The “polio wild virus transmission” is thus officially stopped.

The last polio infection in India was registered on January 13, 2011, in a two-year-old girl in the state of West Bengal, reports the World Health Organization. "If all pending laboratory tests are negative, the transmission of the wild polio virus in India is officially stopped," according to the current WHO announcement. The number of countries in which an increased transmission of the wild polio virus is still at risk has thus been reduced to a historical low of three: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Unfavorable starting conditions for the fight against polio. Although the conditions in India for combating polio were extremely unfavorable due to the high population density and the existing sanitary problems, the massive public and private engagement of the past years has brought the desired results. "India's success is arguably its greatest public health achievement," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. The national vaccination campaign was able to completely control polio. Every year, according to the WHO, more than 170 million children aged five years are vaccinated in two national vaccination campaigns and an additional 70 million children in the risk areas receive polio vaccinations as part of special campaigns. "This requires almost a billion doses of the oral polio vaccine annually," the WHO added.

Effective protection against polio possible UNICEF Director Anthony Lake sees India's performance as "proof that we can eradicate polio even in the most demanding environments." Medicine has "the ability to prevent anyone, especially children, from being completely avoidable Protecting disease - and because we can, we need to stop polio eradication worldwide - once and for all, ”said Lake. However, despite the success, there is no room for complacency. In India, too, the disease must continue to be closely monitored, not least to protect itself against the import of the pathogens from neighboring countries.

Polio continues to be widespread in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria According to the WHO, new cases of polio infections are particularly common in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. However, infections with the poliovirus have also recently been found in Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the countries combine the right elements - political will, high-quality vaccination campaigns and the determination of an entire people, polio can be overcome here too, emphasized Bill Gates as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which in turn supports projects with millions of dollars . (fp)

Image: Blickreflex.de / pixelio.de

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Video: How can India eradicate polio?


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