The union ministry of health and family welfare has issued an advisory to all the states and union territories of the country to administer a dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to all the travellers, irrespective of their age, at least four weeks before travel from India to polio-affected seven countries, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Syria and Ethiopia.
According to the ministry, India has not reported any polio case since January 13, 2011 and consequently it has been declared a polio-free country since April, 2014.
The advisory, a copy of which is available with the HT, states that the polio virus continues to circulate in the three polio-endemic countries namely Afganistan,Pakistan and Nigeria as well as some erstwhile polio-free countries with recent importations of polio virus such as Somalia, Kenya, Syria and Ethiopia.
"This has aggravated the risk of importation of the polio virus into India and has the potentiality of negating the tireless efforts of 25 lakh polio workers and approximately `15,000 crore that India has invested over the past many years.
The ministry of external affairs has already issued instructions to the heads of Indian missions to ensure vaccination of travellers from these countries coming to India.
The advisory further states that each traveller should also be issued a certificate of vaccination after administering OPV in a specific format which should be signed by the designated officer.
This certificate will be valid for a period of one year from the dats of vaccination.Gurdaspur civil surgeon, Dr Vinod Kumar Berry, told Hindustan Times here on Wednesday that 87 persons had been administered doses of OPV by his office from April 1 to May 5.