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India marks 3 years since last polio case, meaning it will be certified as beating disease

Published on Jan 13, 2014 12:02 PM
In this picture taken on January 7, 2014, an Indian polio patient receives treatment from a doctor at St. Stephens Hospital in New Delhi. India will mark three years since its last polio case, leaving it on the cusp of being declared free of the ancient scourge in what is arguably its, and one of the world's, biggest health success stories. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) - India marks three years since its last reported polio case on Monday, meaning it will soon be certified as having defeated the ancient scourge in a huge advance for global eradication efforts.

The landmark is seen as confirming one of India's biggest public health success stories, achieving something once thought impossible, thanks to a massive and sustained vaccination programme.

With the number of cases in decline in Nigeria and Afghanistan, two of only three countries where polio is still endemic, world efforts to consign the crippling virus to history are making steady progress.

"In 2012, there were the fewest numbers of cases in endemic countries as ever before. So far in 2013 (records are still being checked), there were even less," Mr Hamid Jafari, global polio expert at the World Health Organisation, told AFP.

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