India is one of the countries with the largest number of polio cases. According to a senior UNICEF official, there is a suspicion that Indians who travel abroad are spreading the disease.
"Investigation of strains of the polio virus and their genetic sequencing carried out in the African countries of Congo and Mozambique has revealed that they are of Indian origin," Buren Bayar, the UNICEF Polio Coordinator for Uttar Pradesh.
AdvertisementNearly, 280 cases of polio have been reported in India this year, of which, 254 were from Uttar Pradesh.Last year, only 29 cases were reported from this state.
"It may be possible that people going for Haj pilgrimage from the country could have transmitted the polio virus to people of other countries," Bayar said.
He said specifically that it was Uttar Pradesh that was responsible for the spread and not the country as a whole. "The state of Uttar Pradesh specifically is turning out to be the exporter of the disease," he said adding cases of polio reported in Bangladesh were also of Indian origin.
Refuting the Uttar Pradesh Government's argument that vaccination was not an effective method to control polio, he said, "The vaccines are safe. They were tested in May and June this year at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh and were found to be safe and effective."
Bayar was positive about the eradication of polio from India but stressed the need to reach out to every child. "When Bangladesh can do it, why can't India?" he asked.