Lucknow, Feb 23: Over 8000 people took part in a 12-kilometre half long marathon organised by the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association today to spread awareness about polio and ways to eradicate the disease.
Chief Minister Mayawati flagged off the marathon. School children, officials, athletes and the residents enthusiastically jogged across the city, said Aanadeshwer Pandey, one of the organiser of the event.India was the focus of concern within the global health community after 676 cases in 2006.
Ninety Six percent of the cases were declared to be of the virulent type 1 strain that paralyses one out of every 200 children. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the two states most susceptible to the disease because of their tropical climate, crowded towns, poor sanitary conditions, high birth rates and reports of people suffering from diarrhoea.
The Type 3 strain paralyses one in 1,000 infected children and doesot travel far. The Type 2 strain of polio was last recorded in Uttar Pradesh in 1999.
Apart from India, polio is in existence in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.