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The Death of a Disease: India Eradicates Polio

I thought long-time readers would be interested in this post from my friend in blogging, Pranab Chatterjee (he of and fame). It relates to the question of vaccination, which has been covered here on The Science Bit many times in the past. Pranab gives us a great account of India’s battle to eradicate polio through vaccination, highlighting some of the socio-behavioural challenges that combine with the enormous logistical and scientific dimensions of the task. It is astoundingly impressive that India has reached official ‘eradication’ status. Read the full entry on Pranab’s blog, Scepticemia, for more. And do keep in touch with Scepticemia. I highly recommend it.


Today (13th January, 2014) is a landmark day in the history of public health in India. It is exactly three years since the last Polio case was detected in India. Ruksha Shah, from the Subharara village in the Panchla block of District Howrah, West Bengal was the last recorded case of Polio in India. India has traditionally been a difficult country to eradicate polio from. There has been a steady trickle of cases despite massive efforts to control the disease and there have been pockets that have been difficult to reach, both due to geographic and cultural reasons. However, all of these are now slowly being pushed into the background as India is awakening to a new era: of official polio eradication status.

It is indeed a wonderful achievement simply because of the enormity and the logistic immensity of the issue. Imagine reaching every nook and cranny of a billion-strong…

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