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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

5 Diseases That Have Been Eradicated

Human beings have suffered from many diseases throughout history but with the advancement of science, man has been able to defeat these diseases. While some of these victories have been limited to finding effective treatment some victories have led to disease extinction.

Disease extinction or eradication is a scenario where a previously prevalent disease has no active cases and requires no further medical intervention. The world has fought against many such diseases and has won on some occasions.

How are Diseases Eradicated?

To eradicate diseases a comprehensive action plan is required which focuses on prevention, treatment, testing, awareness and eliminating the chances of the disease spreading.

These efforts are led by governments with international aid. The World Health organization devises a plan to eradicate diseases.

Diseases Eradicated from India

India runs comprehensive diseases management programs some of which have been successful in the past. There are many more programs currently running to control other diseases. The following diseases have been eradicated from India:



Every child in India was encouraged to get polio vaccines

All adults today must remember the famous polio advertisement which was run by the Government of India to tell people to get polio drops which were part of the disease eradication program.

Polio is an eradicated disease caused by a virus which attacks the nervous system. The eradication was done by vaccinating the population free of cost. The initiative was in accordance with the global initiative to eradicate polio in 1988.

India reported its last active polio case in 2011 and the World Health Organization declared India polio-free in 2014.


Smallpox was a disease which wreaked havoc on the entire world. It was an infectious disease caused by two particular virus variants. The disease had a high death rate as it killed a third of the infected people and an estimated 200 million people died because of it.

Smallpox is one of the two diseases which have been eradicated globally. India eradicated the disease in 1977 and the last naturally occurring case of smallpox in the world was in 1980.

The disease had no treatment options available. However, the availability of a vaccine played a key role in eradicating the disease. The world is glad to categorise smallpox as an eradicated disease.


A cow in a field

This disease was mostly found in cows., Credits: Wikimedia commons

Rinderpest was a disease which affected cattle. This disease was caused by the  paramyxovirus. It was a major blow to livestock as the fatality rates were close to 100%.

It is only the second completely eradicated disease in the world. The outbreak of the disease spread rapidly and was observed in many parts of the world. It could only be contained after mass vaccination of livestock. The disease has not been active since 2001.

It is the only eradicated disease in animals.


Two tribal men

Tribal people suffer from yaws, Credits: Pexels

Yaws is an infectious disease which primarily affects the tribal population. The disease is caused by spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum pertenue. Yaws is still found in many parts of the world but in India, it is an eradicated disease.

The eradication process involved identifying and treating cases of this infection with antibiotics. It also made sure that the disease does not spread further. India has reported no cases since 2006 but the disease remains active in many countries such as the Philippines.

Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus

A mother with her child

MNT can be fatal for both mother and child, Credits: Pixabay

It is an infectious disease which occurs due to the prevalence of unhygienic practices during delivery. The bacteria affects both the mother and foetus and it can be fatal. There are more 1 lakh deaths due to MNT in the world.

However, India has reported no new cases in the last 5 years. In 2015, India received a citation for successfully eliminating the disease.

Maternal and neonatal tetanus became an eradicated disease in India by promoting hygienic delivery practices performed under trained experts. With the proper effort, it can become an eradicated disease for the whole world.


India has eradicated many diseases in the past and it can do it again. Our job is to be aware of the disease, follow the guidelines and contribute towards controlling the disease.

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