Ranchi: Jharkhand has rushed doctors to Gumla district to verify local media reports that small pox - a contagious disease believed to have been eradicated from the world - has resurfaced and killed three people there.
Three people reportedly died of the contagious disease and five are said to be suffering from it. Based on reports in some vernacular dailies, the health department of Gumla has sent a team of medicos to verify the matter.
Health Secretary AK Sarkar said he had heard the news that small pox had resurfaced and the health department was in the process of authenticating reports. But he said he was not in a position to either confirm or deny the report.
The sudden resurfacing of the disease is raising questions about the eradication programme and causing panic in Jharkhand`s rural belt.
Small pox was said to have been totally eradicated from the world as per reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO) a decade ago.
According to health department sources, immunisation for small pox was stopped in many countries, such as the US, in 1972. In 1979, WHO recommended that vaccination against small pox be stopped in all countries, the only exception being special groups, such as researchers working with small pox and related viruses.
By 1986, routine vaccination had ceased in all countries.