Jodhpur: Rajasthan government will launch a immunization drive next month in Jodhpur and Barmer districts, where a high-alert has been sounded following a threat of recurrence of Polio through virus-carrying passengers of Thar Express coming from Pakistan.
"The Central government has identified Jodhpur and Barmer as high risk areas in the wake of an alarming rise in polio cases in Pakistan.
"To thwart this threat, we would launch a polio immunization drive in these two districts on November 16," Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Narendra Saxena said.
"The threat of spread of virus is looming large in this region," said Vinod Bhatia, Member of the India National Polio Plus Committee.
According to Bhatia, Pakistan reported 284 cases of Polio by September 2013 and 209 cases have been reported this year so far.
"Large number of Pakistani nationals visit these two districts by the Thar Express. The threat of the virus making its way into the Indian territory is quite high," he said.
Saxena, however, said that polio drops are administered every Friday on this train to children under 5 years of age.
"But, since the government has identified these two districts a high risk areas, we would launch a Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) in these districts on November 16," he said.
Bhatia said vaccination drives were conducted in January and February in Alwar and Bharatpur, two other districts identified as high risk areas.
The Thar Express connects Karachi in Pakistan to Jodhpur and passes through Barmer.