India new worries about polio16th August 2007
India is to step up efforts to immunise children against polio in its eastern state of Bihar after fears that disruption caused by flooding may lead to them becoming more vulnerable to the disease.
Bihar has seen millions affected by the worst monsoon floods in years, yet it also has problems with cases of polio.
So far this year 20 cases of the virulent Type 1 polio have been reported leading Indian officials to announce they will make â€śextraordinary effortsâ€? to immunise following the raised threat because of the flood disruption.
India, with 1.1 billion people, has the world's highest number of polio cases. So far in 2007, 139 have been reported out of a global total of 345.
The WHO fears that thousands of children living in crowded makeshift camps in the state of 90 million people could make transmission of the virus easier.
Hamid Jafari, head of WHOâ€™s polio project in India, said: â€śIn flood-hit areas, populations mix in unusual fashion which facilitates transmission of the polio virus. There are operational challenges in reaching children in flood-hit areas and going house-to-house to vaccinate them.â€?
A rise in cases in India, mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, triggered concerns after the Indian strain of the virus re-infected other countries.
However, India says it has beaten back the Type 1 virus in the western parts of Uttar Pradesh, which is the worldâ€™s most affected region. No cases have been reported this year and it is anxious that progress there is not undermined by the flooding in neighbouring Bihar.
Share this page
There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!
Post your comment
Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.
Title: India new worries about polio
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 3764
Date Added: 16th Aug 2007