There were 28 polio cases with onset of paralysis in December 2006. The total polio case count in 2006 is 676. During 2005 only 66 polio cases were reported in the country.
Prior to 2006, there was an outbreak in 2002 when 1600 cases of polio were detected. The four-year cycle is due to accumulation of susceptible children during this period. The poliovirus survived in Western UP and Bihar during the period between 2002 and 2006 and got enough susceptible children in 2006 to start another outbreak.
The polio virus survived in Moradabad and JP Nagar due to environmental factors such as high population density, poor sanitation, high incidence of diarrhoea that require more doses of polio vaccine to be given to children in these areas compared to other areas of the country. However, since the overall immunization status of children in 2006 was much better than what it was in 2002, the number of polio cases seen in 2006 was only 676 (compared to 1600 in 2002). The polio outbreak in 2006 started from two districts of West UP - Moradabad and JP Nagar, from where it spread to other districts in West UP, districts of Central and Eastern UP, Bihar and other states.
The Government has taken the following steps to check the polio cases:
Two nationwide polio immunisation campaigns were conducted in January and February 2007. These were followed by additional sub-national immunisation rounds in the high-risk states in March, April, May, July and August 2007. Additional sub-national immunisation rounds are planned for September, October and December 2007.
The endemic districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have had more immunisation rounds in the first six months of 2007 compared to what was done during the corresponding period of 2006.
The mono-valent vaccines have been used extensively in the high risk states/areas during 2007 polio immunisation drives. The mono-valent vaccines have better efficacy than the tri-valent vaccines used earlier.
The government of UP has filled large number of vacant medical officer positions to strengthen programme management at the block level.
There has been a thrust on involving ASHA workers as vaccinators and mobilisers in the high risk areas to ensure better reach of the polio immunisation drives.
Emphasis has been on reducing the missed children in the high risk areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by ensuring re-visits of vaccination teams to houses where children get missed during the first attempt by vaccination teams.
All new-borns are being identified, vaccinated and tracked for polio vaccination during the polio immunisation drives.
Migratory population from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in other states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal are being covered every time there is a polio drive in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Efforts are being made to improve sanitation in the highest risk areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar through the involvement of Ministry of Rural Development.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.