Maharashtra ranks fifth in the cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), which could be a precursor to polio cases as per the National polio surveillance Project survey, 2006.
The first polio case in the state this year Sayida Pathan in Latur, the polio cases in Mumbai, Nazali Sheikh and Faizal Shiekh were all initial cases of AFP.
Uttar Pradesh has fared the worst with 9111 cases, followed by Bihar, which has recorded 5014 cases, West Bengal recorded 1300 cases while Madhya Pradesh recorded 901 cases. Maharashtra has recorded 894 cases in the 2006 till October.
Health Secretary Dr Vijaysatbir Singh said, "It is a serious indicator and there is no denial that the disease is persisting in the state.
"This indicator will form the basis of our new plans and polio programs for the state.”
He also blamed migration from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for spreading the viral infection in overcrowded localities. These clinical indicators help us formulate a definite plan for our future programs, said Singh.
However Dr Prakash Doke, Director Health services didn’t seem concerned. He said, “Considering that Maharashtra is the second largest state with respect to population, the indicators are not disturbing.”
He further said that there is no relation between AFP and polio cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also considers it as an indicator of the presence of polio virus.
Health minister, Vimal Mundada said that the state has planned an immunisation program on November 12 to fight the virus.
"A highly sensitive surveillance system for AFP will ensure that every possible case of polio is detected, investigated and classified.
"This is critical for the successful eradication of polio," said a doctor who is closely associated with the program but requested anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the press.
The National Polio Surveillance Project, which was launched in 1997, provides technical and logistic assistance to the Government of India, and works closely with state governments achieve the goal of polio eradication in India.
Surveillance of AFP cases is done to identify all reservoirs of wild polio virus transmission. This includes reporting of all AFP cases, investigating them and conducting lab tests of all stool specimens collected from these cases.