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Girl ?paralysed? after getting polio drops

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 02:06 IST

CALLING IT as “mere coincidence”, the case of a five-year-old girl, movement of whose legs was affected after she was administered polio drop last Sunday, health authorities here are maintaining that only her stool sample test report would confirm if the girl has polio or not.

Varsha, daughter of Seema and Rajkumar Thakur, a driver in private service, was administered the polio drop on January 7 at the Chhatribag centre as part of the pulse polio immunisation drive. A few hours later, she developed problems and was not even able to stand on her own. Her parents first took her to the District Hospital from where they shifted her to the Chacha Nehru Children’s Hospital on January 10.

Hospital’s Dr H L Tiwari said, “The child has developed paralysis and the symptoms show involvement of peripheral nerve and not spinal nerves as in case of polio. She has peripheral neuropathy.”

Neuropathy is a condition, which mainly affects feet and legs caused due to disorder in peripheral nervous system. Main symptoms are pain and numbness, both of which the girl has been complaining. Varsha’s electro-encephalogram was done on January 10 itself.

Dr Tiwari said Varsha’s one stool sample has been taken and after taking the second, both would be sent to Mumbai for confirming presence (or the absence) of poliovirus.

Meanwhile, parent’s of Varsha, admitted to the paediatric ICU at the hospital, claim that the hospital authorities are not providing any medicine to her. “They have put her on saline, just that. We have to buy other medicines, worth almost Rs 4,000 daily,” Rajkumar said.

District Immunisation Officer Dr Mukesh Bachawat said, “Only after the sample result come from Mumbai we would be able to tell about this. But her symptoms do not match with that for polio.”

Echoing the same, Surveillance Medical Officer for polio Dr Arun Katkar said, “We would send the sample to Mumbai’s Haffkin’s Institute for confirmation. Only after that we would be able to tell.”

When contacted Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Dr K K Vijayvergiya claimed there was no problem with the cold chain during the last Sunday’s polio campaign. “There is no question of any problem. More than 5 lakh children were administered polio drops last Sunday. There have been no complaints whatsoever. For precaution, we would send her (Varsha’s) stool sample to Mumbai,” Dr Vijayvergiya told Hindustan Times.

Everyone’s keeping the fingers crossed as health care reviewers have always advised that all children should be immunised against polio and diphtheria as apart from other causes/diseases, polio and diphtheria can also cause peripheral neuropathy. Till the sample report comes from Mumbai, everyone would wait with bated breath to know if presence of polio has caused neuropathy in Varsha?

National Polio Surveillance Project (since 1997) carries out active monitoring of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). According to NPCP data, as many as 641 cases of polio were detected across the country in 2006 with Uttar Pradesh topping the list with 519 cases. Madhya Pradesh had three cases.