LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: Days after a polio scare in Telangana, a suspected polio case has been detected in Uttar Pradesh, prompting the Union health ministry to initiate a probe even as it sought to allay concerns, saying no case of the crippling disease was reported in the country since 2011.
A suspected case of polio was detected in UP’s Balrampur district, following which the state health officials have sent a report to the WHO.
The Union health ministry maintained on Friday that it probes thousands of such cases every year and none of them have been found to be of polio and the child in this particular case has been tested and kept under observation.
“A 6-year-old child of Padrauna village in Gaisdi was admitted to a hospital, where doctors suspect that he is suffering from polio. Further check ups are on,” District hospital superintendent S I Zaidi said.
“We are awaiting his test reports. WHO has also been intimated about it,” he said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) India Country Office, when asked about the suspected polio case in Balrampur said, “There is no ‘case’ (paralysed child) from VDPV in Balrampur as is being reported in some sections of the media.”
Health Ministry sources said the child is still under observation and the test reports have been sent to the laboratory and within 2-3 weeks, the results are expected to come.
However as per preliminary investigations, it has been found that the child has been administered 20 doses of polio vaccination.
Senior Health Ministry officials said that nearly 55,000 tests of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), which determines whether its a Vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV) or wild polio, are conducted every year and all of them have turned out to be non-polio AFP.
“All AFP cases by default gets investigated in the country. It’s a standard protocol which the Ministry is following. Balrampur (case) is also one of the cases which is also being investigated.
“Since January 13, 2011 we have been picking up 45,000-55,000 AFP cases every year. All of them have turned out to be non-polio AFP. Since 2011, there has been no polio cases,” Pradeep Haldar, Deputy commissioner, Immunisation, Health Ministry told PTI, adding that only one VDPV case was detected in 2016 in Bihar.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister S P Yadav said the matter has been taken seriously and a team of doctors have been asked to verify it.
The Balrampur case comes just days after a VPDV type 2 was detected in a sewage sample collected from a site in Hyderabad in Telangana.
Reacting to the Telangana episode, the Union Health Ministry had earlier said it was a vaccine derived virus and does not change the polio-free status of India.
“India continues to be polio free as the country has eradicated wild polio virus and the last case was seen on January 13, 2011 and it is more than 5 years that no wild polio virus has been detected,” it had said.
VDPV are rare strain of the polio viruses that have genetically mutated from the strain contained in the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
looking at the community composition, in these two states, I am not very surprised. Even Bihar may show up on radar.
The OPV contains live virus particles that get excreted by babies who are given the vaccine and gets into the sewage.
While the OPV protects children, these excreted virus particles can at times regain neurovirulence (the tendency or capacity of a micro-organism to cause disease of the nervous system) including through contaminated drinking water, and can cause paralysis if consumed by humans.
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