China is extending it campaign of mass vaccinations against polio, state media has announced. Two more rounds of vaccinations will be conducted in March and April in Xinjiang. These will be the fourth and fifth rounds following a fatal outbreak of the disease there last August, though no new cases have been reported since last October. Nearly 4 million children in Xinjiang have been vaccinated so far.
The new inoculations, as with the previous round, will be given to all children under 15 in Xinjiang and to everyone under 40 in five regions of the province. They are Hotan in the south where the outbreak was first reported, Kashgar, Aksu, Bazhou and Kezhou. The outbreak is thought to have spread into southern Xinjiang from Pakistan and India.
At least 21 cases of the disease have been confirmed, leaving at least 17 people paralyzed, including eight children. Thirteen of the 21 cases are from Hotan, six from Kashgar and one each from Aksu and Bazhou. Ten of the cases are in children under three years of age and 11 cases are in adults between 19 and 53 years old. There have been two death, according to the World Health Organization, including at least one infant.