Thousands Of Children Fall Sick
In Assam, India After Vaccine

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Thousands of children have fallen ill and one girl died in Assam after being given contaminated doses of Vitamin A in an immunisation drive against blindness, police said on Tuesday.
A two-year-old girl died of high fever in Silchar town after she was given an oral dose of Vitamin A on Sunday, said Doctor B.C.Kro, head the health services in the north eastern state.
Hundreds of children between the ages of one to six were pouring into hospitals with complaints of fever, vomiting and stomach pain, Kro said. He estimated that the number of children affected could run to 10,000.
"One batch of the medicine was contaminated and that caused the illness," the state's Additional Director General of Police Sharda Prasad said.
On Sunday, Assam's health officials held a day-long drive sponsored by UNICEF to immunise children across the state with concentrated vitamin A solution to eradicate blindness.
UNICEF officials in New Delhi were not immediately available for comment.
State Health Minister Dr Bhumidhar Burman told Reuters that he had ordered health officials to set up medical camps in rural areas to take care of the children.
Vitamin A is seen by aid agencies as a simple and cost-effective way of preventing blindness among poor families whose diets are often lacking in vitamins.
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