India Has Successfully Defeated Polio

Written by Sy Mukherjee

On Monday, Indian officials announced that no polio cases had been reported in the country for a third consecutive year — a major milestone for the country’s efforts to entirely eliminate a disease through mass vaccinations for the first time since the eradication of small pox in 1980.

The achievement means the World Health Organization (WHO) will soon declare India, largely considered the most difficult country in which to eliminate polio, as having officially eradicated the virus. India’s success required the government, NGOs, doctors, social workers and community groups to band together to administer polio vaccines and educate people on proper sanitation techniques throughout the country of over one billion.

Immunization campaigns got a major boost in 2010 when a stronger oral polio vaccine that protected against an additional strain of the virus was released. Just one case was reported the following year, as opposed to 741 the year before.

However, polio still remains endemic in certain countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where most people still don’t have easy access to vaccinations. The disease also re-emerged in war-torn Syria last fall, an outbreak that necessitated an emergency mass immunization campaign that appears to have stymied the virus’ spread.

Over a dozen of the most common infectious diseases, including diptheria, rubella, mumps and measles, have been practically eradicated in the U.S. since the creation of vaccines 200 years ago, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But anti-vaccine campaigns led by activists such as Jenny McCarthy have taken hold among some U.S. parents who assume it’s healthier to avoid inoculating their kids.

Rejecting vaccines can have deadly public health consequences. A famously debunked 1990s study claiming that the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine (MMR) caused autism led to a massive outbreak of measles among British teenagers whose parents had never vaccinated them last year. A separate 2013 measles outbreak in Texas was linked to a pastor who used her evangelical megachurch as a soap box for promoting scientifically spurious anti-vaccine propaganda.

This post was originally published ThinkProgress

Photo Credit: Gates Foundation


Cosmic Sky
cosmic sky3 years ago

Great that they are without polio. Not good that the vaccines are extremely likely to just cause some other diseases. This is definitely not the whole story about it.
Polio (IPV – Ipol)
2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, neomycin, streptomycin, polymyxin B,
monkey kidney cells, Eagle MEM modified medium, calf serum protein,
Medium 199

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (Contains POLIO THAT IS INACTIVATED)

Manuela C.
Manuela C3 years ago

Great news!

John chapman
John chapman3 years ago

Wow, good for India.

They're only 50 years behind most orf the rest of the world.

Don't know if this was due to government letting the people down.

Or greed on the part of the drug companies.

Probably some of both.

Olivia D.
Olivia Dawson3 years ago


Dale O.

Agree with Karen R, this disease should have been eradicated long ago. The vaccines exist and it is tragic when it takes so long to rid the world of a disease that should have exited state left a long time ago because so many people still have little access to certain vaccines in parts of the world.

Sue H.
Sue H3 years ago


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

Wonderful to's about time.

Ana Marija R.
ANA MARIJA R3 years ago

Thank you for posting.

Fred h
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you ThinkProgress, for Sharing this!

Karen R.
Karen Ryan3 years ago

Such a tragedy that even one person is paralyzed by polio so many years after the vaccine was developed - a real heartbreak.