China vaccinated about 3.89 million children against polio in one of its far western regions this month, bringing the region's vaccinated population to 60 percent after an August outbreak left one person dead and paralyzed 17 others, local health officials said Friday.
The latest round of vaccinations included children under 15 years old in six high-risk areas and children under five years old in eight low-risk areas in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said Yin Yulin, head of the regional government's health bureau.
More than 9.3 million children and adults in Xinjiang, a vast region that is home to 21 million people, were vaccinated in September, the official said. The next round of vaccinations will start in November.
The large-scale vaccinations came in response to a polio outbreak in the region that started in August, the first cases of the disease in the country since 2000. One person died and seventeen people, including eight children, were left paralyzed.
Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a viral disease of the brain and spinal cord that mainly affects children under five years of age. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs.
Local health officials said the first three cases of this year's outbreak came from abroad.
Xinjiang neighbors three of the four polio-endemic countries in the world, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The last case was reported in September. Health authorities said three regions in the southwestern parts of Xinjiang -- the prefectures of Hotan, Kashgar and Bayingolin -- were classified as epidemic zones.