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Officials say India close to wiping out polio

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India has not had a case of polio in nine months, raising hopes the country is on the verge of defeating the disease, health officials said Monday.

Ridding itself of polio would be a major symbolic milestone for a nation desperate to move past its image as a Third World country and take its place as a major global player.
India remains one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, and the nine months that it has been without a case is the longest since eradication efforts were launched nearly two decades ago.
"We are close to our goal, but are not taking any chances," said Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

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