Volume 3 Issue 17 - September 01, 2005

Another polio case reported from Uttar Pradesh, W.H.O. questions efficacy of immunisation drives

D.N.I.S. News Network – Yet another case of a child developing polio despite undergoing immunisation has been reported from Uttar Pradesh, the State that has the dubious distinction of having largest number of polio cases in the country.

The latest case, of one-year-old Reshma, has been reported from Islam Nagar village in the Khandoli area of Agra. The girl was administered a total of six doses of pulse-polio vaccine and yet she tested positive, putting a question mark on the pulse-polio drive in this District, says a media report.

Agra was declared "polio-free" over three years ago by the State Health Department, and the latest case has made the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) express serious doubts over claims made by the Department on the success of the pulse-polio campaign in the State.

District Chief Medical Officer (C.M.O.) Dr. Roshan Lal has, however, claimed that Reshma could not be suffering from polio as she was being regularly administered pulse-polio vaccine and had received six doses so far. Of these, three were of monovalent type that is effective in eliminating the P1 type virus, which the girl has been allegedly found, infected with.

Questioning the authenticity of the test report, Dr. Lal said two monovalent pulse polio doses were administered to the girl on May 15 & June 28 and her stool sample was taken on June 29, therefore, the sample is bound to contain the polio virus delivered by the vaccine and that is what the Mumbai laboratory may have found.

Still, he said, the Health Department was analysing the claim to ascertain the cause of alleged infection. They are also looking into the possibility that the virus may have been "imported" from some other district.

The Agra division has become a flashpoint for the W.H.O., as two cases of polio have already been discovered in Firozabad and Etah Districts of the division this year. Reshma’s case clearly challenges the W.H.O.'s target of worldwide eradication of polio by 2005 end.

The State Government had suspended three medical officials of the Firozabad District, including the C.M.O. in 2004 for administering "expired" polio vaccines to more than 5,000 children.

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