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Production snag forces worldwide hold on GSK chickenpox vaccines

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline has stopped worldwide deliveries of two chickenpox vaccines for children after discovering that some batches produced at its factory in Wavre, Belgium, were not up to standard. Britain's biggest drugmaker, which is also one of the world's leading vaccine manufacturers, said on Tuesday it expected shipments to begin again at the end of the first quarter.

Attack on polio security team in Pakistan kills seven

At least seven people were killed Wednesday in a bomb attack on a police van taking officers to guard polio vaccination teams in restive northwest Pakistan, officials said. Militant attacks and threats of violence have badly affected efforts to stamp out the crippling disease in Pakistan, one of only three countries where it remains endemic. Wednesday's blast in Sir Dheri, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the main northwestern city of Peshawar came a day after gunmen killed three polio workers in Karachi.

Nigeria, Pakistan could delay polio-free goal

Billionaire software baron turned philanthropist Bill Gates warned on Tuesday that violence in Nigeria and Pakistan could set him back in his goal of eradicating polio by 2018. In 2013, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- a charity that funds medical research and vaccination drives -- made wiping out the crippling disease in the next six years its top priority. But the Microsoft founder, who has poured a large part of his personal fortune into the drive and encouraged fellow billionaires to contribute, said in an AFP interview that major challenges remain.

Gunmen kill three polio workers in Karachi

Gunmen killed three health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi on Tuesday, police said, in the latest blow to efforts to stamp out the disease in Pakistan. After the attacks, the latest in a series of deadly assaults on vaccination teams, the provincial polio workers' association said it was halting operations across Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital. Men on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood in the east of Pakistan's biggest city.

Gunmen kill three polio workers in Karachi

Gunmen killed three health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi on Monday, police said, in the latest blow to efforts to stamp out the disease in Pakistan. Attackers on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood in the east of Pakistan's biggest city. The attacks came just days after the World Health Organisation warned that Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar was the world's "largest reservoir" of the polio virus.

Gunmen kill three polio workers in Karachi

Gunmen killed three health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi on Monday, police said, in the latest blow to efforts to stamp out the disease in Pakistan. Attackers on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood in the east of Pakistan's biggest city. The attacks came just days after the World Health Organisation warned that Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar was the world's "largest reservoir" of the polio virus.

Pakistani city is world's biggest reservoir of polio viruses

By Katharine Houreld ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's volatile northwestern city of Peshawar is the largest reservoir of endemic polio viruses in the world, the World Health Organization said on Friday, amid concerns over continuing violence against polio vaccination teams. Pakistan is also the only polio-endemic country in the world where polio cases rose from 2012 to 2013, the statement said. There were 91 cases last year but only 58 the year before.

India breaks free of polio in boost to global immunization drive

By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India on Monday marked three years since its last reported case of polio, paving the way for it to be declared free of the crippling virus and boosting efforts to wipe out the disease globally, the Organization (WHO) said. The country's last case of the wild polio virus was detected on Jan 13, 2011, in a two-year-old girl in the state of West Bengal. Three years without any new cases means India can be declared polio-free.

Health minister hails 'monumental milestone' of polio-free India

India's health minister on Monday hailed the country's success in eradicating new cases of polio as a "monumental milestone". India marks three years since its last reported polio case on Monday, meaning it will soon be declared as having defeated the ancient scourge in a huge advance for global eradication efforts. "In 2009 India accounted for over half of the global polio burden and today is the historic day when we have completed three years without a single case of wild polio," Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters in the capital.

India defeats polio, global eradication efforts advance

India marks three years since its last reported polio case on Monday, meaning it will soon be certified as having defeated the ancient scourge in a huge advance for global eradication efforts. The landmark is seen as confirming one of India's biggest public health success stories, achieving something once thought impossible, thanks to a massive and sustained vaccination programme.
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