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Pulse Polio is an immunization campaign established by the government of India in 1994 to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio) in India by vaccinating annually all children under age five against poliovirus.
Every child receives a dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), a live, attenuated virus which colonises the gastrointestinal tract. This virus competitively inhibits the wild, disease-causing poliovirus. Not only does this prevent pernicious infection in the host, it precludes transmission of the wild poliovirus to other hosts. Since poliovirus cannot survive outside a host for more than two weeks, theoretically it would be eradicated, resulting in the eradication of poliomyelitis.
The campaign proved to be successful, and the incidence of poliomyelitis in India has decreased dramatically: India recorded 4,791 cases of polio in 1994; 2,489 in 1997; 1,600 in 2002; 225 in 2003; and 135 in 2004. Nevertheless, critics charge that the campaign has seriously encroached on other essential public health services at times when health care resources were minimal.