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INDIA STRUGGLES WITH HALF OF WORLD'S POLIO CASES

One out of two polio cases in the world occurs in India despite a state-run vaccination program to control the disease, experts in New Delhi said Wednesday.

The childhood disease, however, is easily preventable through oral vaccine, the experts said."The curse of polio can be prevented and must be eradicated by preventing transmission of the disease, through environmental sanitation and extensive use of oral vaccine to all the eligible children," said B.N. Tandon, a New Delhi physician.

But the report on polio in India comes just one day after a batch of bad vaccine serum was administered to children in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. The vaccine killed at least 11 children, authorities said.

India has the means to eradicate polio, which usually attacks young children and leaves them permanently crippled by causing atrophy of the affected muscles, health experts said.

More than 140 countries worldwide had eradicated polio by 1993, but India has a long way to go, experts said.

Before the launch of an immunization drive by New Delhi, polio was the cause for handicap in two out of three children with physical disability in the country, experts said.