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India Reaches Milestone In Polio Eradication – Polio A Fact Sheet

On 13 January, 2012, India reached a major milestone in the history of polio eradication – a 12-month period without any case of polio being recorded. This date marks the unprecedented progress in India and is an endorsement of the effectiveness of the polio eradication strategies and their implementation in India.

  • Cases in 2011                            1 (last case 13 January 2011)
  • Cases in 2010                           42
  • Cases in 2009                          741
  • Cases in 1995                          50,000
  • Cases in 1985                          150,000
  • Last wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was on 13 January 2011, Howrah, West Bengal.
  • Last wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) case was on 22 October 2010, Pakur, Jharkhand .
  • Last wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) case was on October 1999, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Last positive case from monthly environmental sewage sampling (conducted in Delhi, Mumbai and Patna)  was on November 2010, Mumbai.
  • Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, the incidence of wild poliovirus has reduced by 99 per cent – from 350,000 children paralyzed or killed annually in 125 countries in 1988 to 649 cases reported in 17 countries in 2011 (as of 14 February, 2012). In 2006, the number of polio-endemic countries (countries that have never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus transmission) was reduced to four – India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • One of the three types of wild poliovirus – wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) has been eradicated globally. The last case of WPV2 was in Aligarh, India, in October, 1999.
  • The two polio-endemic states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have not reported any case of polio since April 2010 and September 2010, respectively.
  • The transmission of the most dangerous WPV1, which caused 95 per cent of polio in India until 2006, dropped to record low levels in 2010. Uttar Pradesh, the epicenter of most polio outbreaks in the country, has not reported any WPV1 cases since November 2009.
  • This progress follows intensive immunization campaigns focusing on areas at highest risk of transmitting polio and the most vulnerable populations, such as newborns (>500,000 children are born in UP and Bihar each month) and migrants; use of the more efficacious monovalent oral polio vaccines and, since 2010, the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) which protects against both P1 and P3 concurrently.
  • The polio partnership in India is led by the MoHFW, Government of India, with continued support from WHO’s National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, as also the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Number of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) doses administered in 2011 was 900 million.

Number of Supplementary Immunization Activities in 2011

  • 2 National Immunization Days (NIDs) immunizing 172 million children <5 years in five days
  • 7 Sub-National Immunization Days (sNIDs) immunizing 50-70 million children each
    • 1 Mop-up Emergency Activity immunizing 2.6 million children

The Polio Programme

  • During each National Immunization Day, nearly 2.3 million vaccinators under the direction of 155,000 supervisors visit 209 million houses to administer OPV to around 172 million children under 5 years of age across the country. To reach people on the move, mobile vaccination teams immunize children at railway stations, inside running trains, at bus stands, market places, construction sites, etc. Around 5 million children are immunized by transit and mobile teams during every round in UP, Bihar and Mumbai alone. Between 50-70 million children are vaccinated with OPV during SNIDs which cover the endemic states of UP and Bihar, re-infected states such as West Bengal and Jharkhand, polio high-risk areas of Delhi and Mumbai (and their surrounding areas). Migrant and mobile populations in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat are also covered in the SNIDs.


  • The key challenge now is to ensure any residual or imported poliovirus in the country is rapidly detected and eliminated. This requires very high levels of vigilance and emergency preparedness to respond to any importation of wild poliovirus. The importation of wild poliovirus into China in 2011 highlights the risk that India faces of polio returning to the country.
  • The Government of India and all states are putting together Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to ensure a rapid and appropriate response to any case of polio in the country.
  • The challenge is to ensure all children up to 5 years of age continue to take OPV at every available opportunity (polio campaigns and routine immunization) both in and outside the polio-endemic states until global eradication is achieved.
  • Ensuring populations on the move – migrants, nomads and cross-border movements – both inside and outside polio-endemic, high-risk and re-infected states and entering India from neighboring Pakistan and Nepal, are protected with OPV in each round.
  • Tackling the risk of complacency among the community and within the polio programme in view of zero cases.
  • Keeping polio eradication as a key health priority in India until global eradication.  


(PIB Feature.)