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West Bengal polio case false alarm, says health ministry

New Delhi: An 18-month-old girl admitted to a hospital in West Bengal with polio-like symptoms is not affected by polio, the health ministry said on Friday, terming the widely reported case as a false alarm.

“The 18-month-old girl child has been tested negative for polio. Both the stool samples of the child were found negative for polio in the Institute of Serology, Kolkata,” a release from the ministry said.

Sumi Naskar, from Baruipur, South 24-Parganas district was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata earlier this month from where she was picked up by the polio surveillance network for investigation, after a section of media flashed Naskar case as a “polio case”.

“As part of surveillance for polio, any child less than 15 years of age who suddenly develops floppiness or weakness or paralysis in any part of the body is investigated thoroughly. These cases are called Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases.”

“Polio is one of the several causes of AFP and not the only cause for AFP,” the statement said.

Sumi is one of the many AFP cases detected this year and investigated for polio, the statement said.

According to the statement, India has not reported any case of polio since January 13, 2011 and the country has been struck off the list of countries with active endemic wild polio transmission in February 2012.

“The job is not yet done as the risk of polio persists. The surveillance for polio continues to be of the highest sensitivity, detecting and investigating all cases of AFP to rule out polio. An AFP case cannot be reported as polio until confirmed by a laboratory,” the statement added. [Source: IANS]

One Comment

  1. chiranjeeb kakoty chiranjeeb kakoty Saturday, March 31, 2012

    The media may not be a good pal in most instances but we need to accept that public health professionals can sharpen their antennae going through media reports . We cannot say for sure , if without the media coverage, greater focus on surveillance for Poliomyelitis in Kolkata/ West Bengal would have been so high on the priority . There is a need to have stronger and effective surveillance so that the public health professionals can pick up cases ( even if it is a false alarm ) earlier than the media – here lies the challenge.

    Just look at the reported swine flu deaths in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh !!

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