Andaman to be polio-free by 2009-10

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Port Blair, Jan 19: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands health department is all set to make the Island Polio-free by 2009-10.

Since last two years all the stool samples of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases from these islands have shown negative results and according to norms if the AFP samples of any State show negative result for three continuous years then the area is declared as polio-free zone, Andaman Deputy Director of Directorate (Health Education) Dr S K Paul told UNI here today.

This year the Health Department would be sending the samples of AFP cases for the third year and is expecting negative results once again.

''Roughly we can expect to get the polio-free status by 2009 or 2010. Moreover, in last seven years we haven't detected any Polio cases in the Islands,'' Dr Paul said.

The AFP samples were being sent under the National Polio Surveillance Project, a collaborative project of Centre and World Health Organisation.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by polio virus, which invades the nervous system and causes total paralysis. It can strike at any age, but affects mainly children under three. However, the disease can be prevented by immunisation with polio vaccine.

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) was developed in 1961 by Dr Albert Sabin; OPV is highly effective, safe and inexpensive and has been used worldwide to eradicate the disease.

The Health Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will launch its first round of Polio Immunisation Programme of 2008 tomorrow and the second round on February 24.

However, uncontrolled influx into these remote islands has become a challenge for the local health department, which is also conducting polio immunistion programme in all the local ports.


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