The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Polio comeback in Assam

Silchar, Nov. 11: The first polio case in Assam since 2003 has been detected in the Barak Valley.

The revelation has come on the eve of a national immunisation drive against the disease tomorrow, putting a question mark on its implementation.

A total of 46 lakh children will be immunised tomorrow and 21,400 booths have been set up throughout the state for the purpose.

The case, the first of its kind in the Barak Valley districts since the polio eradication campaign got under way, is the fourth poliovirus patient in Assam since the acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance programme was introduced in the state in January 1998.

A testing laboratory in Pune on Friday confirmed that a four-and-a-half year-old girl living at Jhum Basti village on the fringe of the railway town of Badarpur in Karimganj district has been afflicted with wild poliovirus positive disease.

Health department sources in both Guwahati and Silchar confirmed the wild poliovirus case in Karimganj district and added that they were taking the matter seriously. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed it,” one of them added.

The Karimganj administration has withheld the name of the latest victim of this disease. Sources in the Silchar health department said this is the first such poliovirus positive case detected in Assam since the last polio case was detected in a char area of Goalpara district in June 2003.

The girl contracted acute flaccid paralysis, a precursor of venal polio, a fortnight ago when a local doctor examined her. Samples of her stool were then despatched to central laboratories in both Calcutta and Pune to confirm whether she was suffering from poliomyelitis.

The declaration by the laboratory in Pune was first made known to Karimganj district deputy commissioner Anurag Goel last evening. He immediately swung into action and held a meeting with senior health officials.

A. Bandopadhyay, a specialist doctor deployed in the polio eradication campaign by WHO in south Assam, disclosed that the girl’s parents had never taken her to the polio drop feeding centre for immunisation.

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