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New strands of polio virus found in India and Indonesia

DNIS News Network Highlighting the need for continuing the worldwide campaign for polio eradication, reports of two new strands of polio virus surfacing in India and Indonesia have come in.

In India, the new strand of the virus has been found in the State of Uttar Pradesh that has been a traditional hotbed of the virus despite years of anti-polio drives.

Two cases of the P3 strain have been reported from Rampur and Shahjahanpur. The detection of P3 cases is significant, as India has just begun to fight polio with a monovalent vaccine, which attacks only the P1 virus. Doctors working for an international health organisation detected these cases. Till May this year, India had been using a trivalent vaccine, which attacks all the three strains of the polio virus. The new phase, kicked off on May 15, introduced the use of monovalent vaccine, which attacks only the P1 virus.

It was found that strain P2 had not been detected seen since 1999 while strain P3 was supposed to be on its way out. In fact, P1 was seen as doing all the damage.

In Indonesia, a new strand of polio virus has wreaked havoc since first reported in April. The toll now stands at 100, according to World Health Organisation (W.H.O.).

W.H.O. officials believe the outbreak can be traced to Nigeria, where vaccinations were suspended in 2003 after religious heads protested against the campaign. Indonesian officials say a pilgrim on Haj to Mecca, or a migrant worker, could have picked up the virus.

Polio is still endemic in six countries - Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Niger and Pakistan. The United Nations has been campaigning to eradicate the disease by the end of this year.