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Fearing virus entry from Pakistan, India launches a special anti-polio drive

The government on Saturday launched a special pulse polio drive for 2017 fearing that the crippling virus that affects children may infiltrate into India from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On the eve of National Immunisation Day, President Pranab Mukherjee launched the programme by vaccinating polio drops to children less than five years old at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here.

Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said India despite being declared polio free was at the risk of revival of the virus because it can come from Pakistan and Afghanistan where it still persists.

He said there was a need “for the country to maintain the population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens”.

“The risk of importation still persists from…Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria where polio virus is still circulating,” the minister said.

The minister also announced that the government was conducting polio vaccination at the international borders and has also issued travel advisory to vaccinate all tourists.

Pakistan has not able to eradicate the virus despite a nationwide campaign that has often come under deadly attacks by militant groups.

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