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Three Years Since Last Case Of Polio Reported In India

Update Date: Jan 13, 2014 11:58 AM EST

India has been witnessing a polio-free state for the last three years. The achieved landmark is being seen as confirmation of one of the biggest public health successes in the country.

The success has evidently been achieved through a massive and sustained immunization program running throughout. In 2009 the total number of cases recorded in India were 741, down to one in 2011.

Previous year World Health Organization eliminated India from the list of polio-endemic countries but kept countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria in the list.

Reportedly Indian government is declaring the polio-free status on Monday, but WHO will certify the status by 11th February after testing the last of some recent samples.

“India will reach a great milestone in polio eradication on 13 January - three years since its last case of wild poliovirus. India was once thought to be the most difficult country in which to achieve polio eradication,” the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said in a statement, according to BBC.

In 1980, India was able to eliminate smallpox and polio will be the second disease that will eliminated completely through immunization.

During every round of immunization, around 2.4 million volunteers vaccinate nearly 170 million children in India.

For the years, it was India who exported polio to the world, now they will be probably receiving. “We cannot be complacent,” said Dr. Naveen Thacker, a member of the expert-advisory group to the Indian government for polio eradication to TIME. “Those channels are still open, but now we are on the receiving end.”

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