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Indian J Community Med. 2014 Apr;39(2):63-7. doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.132714.

World Witnesses a Tumultuous Year while India Reports an Eventful Decade in the Long Story of Polio Eradication.

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Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.


With recent outbreaks in Syria and Horn of Africa, silent circulation of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Israel, West Bank, and Gaza, and fresh spate of violence against vaccinators and their security personnel in Pakistan, the world is facing a turbulent final ascent to the summit of polio eradication. On the positive side, we may also be witnessing the end of wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) and defused programmatic crisis caused by funding gaps, while India registers third consecutive polio-free year. Having a cogent endgame plan 2013-2018, informed by some cardinal lessons learned from an eventful decade in India, is also a very significant development. Now, there is a parallel pursuit against WPV and vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV). Endgame would also involve integration of at least one dose of affordable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to up-scaled routine immunization (RI), switch from trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) to bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in 144 countries before 2018, stockpiling of mOPV, and simultaneous global cessation of bOPV before 2020. Role of antivirals in post-eradication era is still unclear. Some specific threats emerging at this stage are as follows: Global buildup of new birth cohorts in non-endemic countries with weak RI and downscaled supplementary immunization activities (SIAs), tremendous pressure on peripheral health workers, and fatigued systems. Cultural resistance to transnational programs is taking a violent shape in some areas. Differential interpretations of 'right to say no', on both sides of the divide, are damaging a global cause. Amidst all these concerns, let us not forget to underline the sacrifice made by frontline vaccinators working in some of the most challenging circumstances.


Endgame; India; eradication; polio

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