Posted: 24 October 2011 at 4:29am | IP Logged
It is heart-warming to note that India's fight against polio has made huge progress. Hardly any cases over past 9 months due to vaccinations given to children. Hope same can be done to other countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Africa etc
India polio-free? No case since Jan 13
Kounteya Sinha,TNN | Oct 12, 2011, 03.45AM IST
The country's only polio case reported this year was on January 13 from West Bengal. India has been alert to any sort of import of the virus from neighbouring countries too.
NEW DELHI: India has not reported a single polio case in over 200 days. The country's only polio case reported this year was on January 13 from West Bengal. India has been alert to any sort of import of the virus from neighbouring countries too.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) says 11 countries are facing outbreaks owing to the import of the polio virus.
Pakistan is reeling under a polio outbreak (over 100 cases) following the transmission of the P1 strain, and is the only Asian country this year to have reported the P3 virus, which is on the verge of elimination elsewhere on the continent.
A cautious New Delhi has intensified surveillance at the Indo-Pak border in Wagah to prevent the import of the virus.
In the past one month, India vaccinated 115 children - aged below five years - who came into the country from Pakistan with the bivalent polio vaccine.
Rapid response teams trained by the Centre will carry out "active case searching operation" in Amritsar and blocks near the border from next week.
Punjab's immunization officer, Dr Balwinder Singh, told TOI :"We will visit hospitals in blocks near the border to confirm that we haven't missed a single case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) to spot any signs of polio being imported. Information boards at Wagah and Attari in three languages - English, Hindi and Urdu - are asking all those coming from Pakistan to immediately contact the health booth if their children aged below five years feel sudden weakness in any part of the body or have been feeling it over the past six months."
GPEI says of the 1,002 cases reported in the last 12 months globally, only 290 were reported in the last six months, showing a substantial slowdown in polio transmission. There has been an almost 40% decrease in cases this year (429) as compared to last year (706). Three out of the four endemic countries and two out of the three re-established transmission nations have seen a spurt in cases this year.
Indian immunization officers are administering the vaccine to children who arrived either at the Wagah border or at the Attari railway station since September 13.
The World Health Organizsation (WHO) confirmed that Pakistan is exporting polio virus.
The WHO has said, "Travellers to and from Pakistan should be fully vaccinated, and travellers to the country who in the past have had three or more doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) should have another one before they travel. Some countries require travellers from Pakistan to be fully immunized against polio before they grant an entry visa."
In line with the WHO's International travel and health recommendations, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued vaccination requirements for travellers of all ages undertaking the Umrah and the Hajj pilgrimages.
Besides WHO's recommendations, all travellers entering the Kingdom from countries where polio is endemic must show proof of having received OPV six weeks before the travel, and they will also be administered another dose on their arrival at Saudi Arabia.