New Delhi: With just one case of polio recorded till now this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday said 2011 will be crucial for the country to eradicate the disease.
"This year is extremely crucial for India to capitalise on the remarkable progress made so far and stop polio virus transmission forever," WHO representative to India Nata Menabde said on World Polio Eradication Day.
"The progress is attributed to the tireless efforts of the national and state governments and all partners in polio eradication," Menabde said.
While 39 polio cases were reported last year, only one case -- from Howrah district in West Bengal -- has been detected in the country this year.
According to the health ministry, for the first time, no case of polio has been reported from Uttar Pradesh (since April 2010) and from Bihar (since September 2010).
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Sunday: "We are close to our goal but not taking any chances. Efforts will be intensified in the country to stop residual polio virus circulation and also prevent international importation."
Pakistan is experiencing a spurt in polio cases, while the virus has made a re-entry in China.
"To mitigate the risk of importation from Pakistan, immunisation has begun at the Wagah border and Attari train station in Punjab since September and Munabo in Barmer district of Rajasthan this month," Azad added.