India has recorded a sharp drop in polio cases with just 39 cases to date in 2010, compared to 498 at the same time last year, according to the latest World Health Organisation data.
The endemic states of Bihar and UP saw a drastic decline in the number of cases, bringing cheer to the country’s efforts to eradicate polio.
Children below the age of five are susceptible to the viral disease, which paralyses the nervous system. While type-2 polio has been eliminated, types 1 and 3 continue to be a challenge in parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
With not a single case of polio reported in the last six months, UP seems to be on the verge of eliminating polio. The state has been organising immunisation campaigns in high-risk areas to ensure a most children are administered the vaccine.
As a result, no case of type-1 polio has been detected so far this year and the incidence of type-3 cases is down to just 10 – all in the first four months - from 569 in 2009.
“Through our immunisation drives, we have ensured that 98 per cent of children in the western parts of the state were covered in each round,” WHO’s UP coordinator SK Pathyarch said. “Migrant labourers moving in various parts of the state were also tracked and their children were administered the vaccine.”
This is the lowest ever level of reported cases during September-October, the peak transmission season.
Last year, of 602 cases in the state, 117 were reported in September and 109 in October. “The transmission period of the virus is still on. We hope we don’t detect more cases during the period,” said family welfare director general SP Ram. Bihar reported only three type-1 cases this year compared to 38 last year, and six type-3 cases compared to 79 last year.
(With PTI inputs)