China’s all-out fight against polio

Immunizing over 9 million

Children are marked with indelible ink behind their ears as a way of tracking whether they have been vaccinated Yvan Hutin
Children are marked with indelible ink behind their ears as a way of tracking whether they have been vaccinated
Yvan Hutin

BEIJING—China vaccinated more than 9 million children and young adults last September in Xinjiang in a fight against polio after the disease paralyzed 18 people and killed one of them. Over 4 million children received a second dose of polio vaccine in early October.

Polio had broken out in China in late August, 2011 for the first time since 1999. Genetic sequencing of the isolated viruses indicates that they are related to wild polioviruses circulating in Pakistan.

China is undertaking an aggressive outbreak response: Within 15 days of confirmation that wild poliovirus had been detected, a ‘level two’ public health emergency had been declared, both the Minister and Vice-Minister of Health had travelled to the affected region, almost 150 health professionals from around China had been deployed, five million doses of oral polio vaccine had been airlifted to the province and more than 200,000 hospital records had been reviewed for potential polio cases. Full story

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