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Home / India News / 6-year-old in Jharkhand suspected of polio, samples sent to Kolkata’s IIS

6-year-old in Jharkhand suspected of polio, samples sent to Kolkata’s IIS

The WHO had declared India polio-free in 2014 following a sustained aggressive programme of administering polio vaccine to newborns across the country by the Central government.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2020, 11:15 IST
Debashish Sarkar
Debashish Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
A child being administered pulse polio vaccine drops by an ANM worker.
A child being administered pulse polio vaccine drops by an ANM worker. (Representative image/HT PHOTO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinator in Jharkhand on Monday sent samples of 6-year-old boy a suspected of being by polio virus to the Indian Institute of Serology (IIS) in Kolkata to find whether it was the first confirmed case of polio in the past few years, officials said on Tuesday.

The WHO had declared India polio-free in 2014 following a sustained aggressive programme of administering polio vaccine to newborns across the country by the Central government. However, in West Singhbhum district, where every second child is malnourished, samples of 64 children since 2014 have been sent to IIS for polio tests. Polio virus was not found in any of these samples tested till date. Polio is mostly prevalent among children under 15 years of age.

“This is the first suspected case of polio from Manoharpur-Anandpur block in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. We have sent the stool sample of the 6-year-old boy to IIS-Kolkata for testing. The report will come in 15 days from IIS which will conclusively tell us if this is the first confirmed case of polio. If the presence of polio virus is not detected, we will further try to diagnose the reasons for the boy’s problems,” Dr Suman, WHO coordinator for Chaibasa, said.

She said they would have to go for differential diagnosis to find out the exact reason for the weak and flabby muscles of the boy – acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) – if polio virus is not found in the testing.

“Apart from polio, guillain barre syndrome (GBS), transverse myelitis, traumatic neuritis, transient paralysis, facial palsy and paresis too may lead to AFP. There is no reason to panic as of now because samples of 64 suspected cases of polio were sent to IIS from Chaibasa during the past three years and none have tested positive so far,” Dr Suman said.

In 2018, 13 samples for suspected cases of polio 32 samples in 2019 from West Singhbhum were sent for testing to IIS-Kolkata. This year, 19 samples have been sent for testing so far. None of the samples since 2018 have tested positive.

West Singhbhum district civil surgeon Dr OP Gupta said the doctors in Ispat General Hospital in Rourkela suspected that the boy had polio after testing there and sent their report to the Chaibasa Sadar Hospital (CSH). “We immediately decided to get tests done at IIS and informed the district WHO coordinator,” Dr Gupta said.

The boy had been suffering from high fever for almost three weeks when he was admitted in Manoharpur CHC on October 16.

He was then referred to IGH Rourkela on October 18 where doctors suspected that he was suffering from polio and informed the WHO wing in Rourkela, which intimated WHO Chaibasa wing. Block coordinator handed over the sample to WHO official Himanshu Bhusan on October 31.

According to a 2018 study report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the tribal dominated West Singhbhum district has one of the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) of 56, under 5 mortality rate (U5MR) of 96 in the country. Around 60% children below five years here are malnourished, the report said.

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