NEPAL: Declared Polio-Free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Nepal polio-free following a six-month period of no reported infections.

“This is an example of what can be achieved by emphasizing the importance of routine immunization, high quality mass vaccination campaigns and a sensitive surveillance system,” William Schluter, WHO medical officer for the expanded programme on immunization, told IRIN.

Endemic transmission of the debilitating virus was interrupted in 2000 – at which point Nepal was polio-free for the next four years, he said.

Between 2005 and 2008, 20 cases were reported due to cross-border transmission. In 2009, the country was again polio-free.

In 2010 six cases were reported, following two separate importations of the virus from the Indian state of Bihar, he said. In February, a single case outbreak occurred in Mahottari District, followed by a second outbreak in Rautahat District (both districts are on the border with India); the most recent case was reported on 30 August 2010.

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