Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss admitted in the Rajya Sabha, parliament's upper house, Friday that the transmission of poliovirus may continue beyond 2006 with "India ...likely to miss the current eradication target".
In a written answer he said that there were 138 cases reported this year from Uttar Pradesh, 14 from Bihar, and one each from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkand and West Bengal.
"While cases have been concentrated in a fairly restricted area of western UP, more recently geographical spread has occurred and few cases have been reported from central UP", according to Ramadoss.
He citied reasons like high density population, poor sanitation, high birthrate along with high rate of enteroviruses that resulted in lower vaccine efficacy.
"These factors, coupled with the fact the quality of the supplemental immunization activities deteriorated in 2005 and early 2006 in several districts - most notably in Moradabad - allowing for a build-up of non-immune children, have led to the increase in cases," the minister said.
He said since the polio surveillance campaign started in India in 1997, the number of cases reported across the country was 6297.
The government has decided to formulate a scheme for the treatment and rehabilitation of polio-affected children between the age group of 3-18 years.
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