India is close to wiping out polio

India has "never been closer" to wiping out polio, India's health minister has stated as he marked World Polio Day.

There have been no new cases for more than nine months, making it the longest polio-free period ever since the global eradication campaign was launched.

The only case reported this year was in the state of West Bengal in January. There were 39 cases reported over a similar period in 2010.

India is one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

The virus is also prevalent in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

"We are close to our goal but are not taking any chances," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Monday.

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