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Video: Global Immunization: Polio in India

CDC Continues to work with its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) including Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to rid the world of polio forever. In surpassing a year without detecting a single case of wild poliovirus, India has achieved a major milestone. This clearly demonstrates that strong political will, concerted and sustained high quality effort, and continued commitment can stop polio.


COCHI: CDC provides a broad array of technical assistance to the government of India on immunization. India's a very important country in the history of polio because historically, it is the country that has had the most polio of any country in the world. With the beginning of the immunization program in developing countries, including India, in the late 1970s, the burden of the polio disease began to diminish in India. But still, as recently as the early 1990s, there were still 50,000 to 100,000 polio cases occurring in India.

As part of the polio-eradication initiative, four key strategies were developed and adopted by polio-endemic countries of the world to eradicate polio. The first strategy is strengthening a routine immunization program in each of these countries. Now, this is supplemented by national immunization days, which are special mass-vaccination campaigns targeting every child less than 5 years of age in a country, regardless of their prior vaccination status. If you can imagine it, in less than a week in India, as many as 175 million children are reached in each round of these mass campaigns with polio vaccine. That's just a phenomenal event to witness, and it's very effective in stopping the transmission of polio. Now, the third strategy is to strengthen the disease surveillance, to detect polio cases. The fourth and final strategy is called mop-up immunization. And this targets high-risk areas of a country, the remaining reservoirs or the remaining places where the polio virus is still circulating, with special house-to-house mass-vaccination campaigns to stop the final chains of transmission of polio. In recent years, India has made tremendous progress toward eradicating polio. With an increased intensity of the polio mass-vaccination campaigns in India during the first part of this past decade, the polio burden in India was reduced so that by 2010, only 42 cases were reported, and that was a 95% decline compared with 2009. I'm happy to report that the last polio case occurred in India in January of 2011, a remarkable achievement. India's now gone more than a year without a case of polio for the first time in history.

  • Page last reviewed: April 20, 2012
  • Page last updated: April 20, 2012
  • Content source: Global Health
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