Bengaluru: It is almost two years now since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared India off the list of polio endemic countries. However, according to the National Polio Surveillance Project data of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the WHO programme, new cases of Non-Polio Acute Flaccid Paralysis (NPAFP), a form of polio which is clinically identical to polio paralysis, were reported from India in 2011, and apparently cases were reported from Karnataka as well.
Seven-and-a-half-year-old Manju (name changed) from Tiptur taluk in Tumkur district, diagnosed with GB syndrome (paralysis of the spinal cord), a type of NPAFP, is still undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
Dr Deepak Chiradoni of Basaveshwara Hospital, who is treating Manju, said, “He had acute fever and weakening of his right leg. We admitted him and after about a week we sent his stool for testing to the National Institute of Virology in Pune. He tested negative for polio, but the fluid from his spinal cord tested positive for GB syndrome. He is still undergoing treatment.”
According to the surveillance report, which is generally conducted by surveillance medical officers from the State government immediately after the national polio immunisation drive every year, Karnataka has reported 684 cases of NPAFP in 2012 as against 565 cases reported in 2011.
Says Dr Chiradoni, “There is no doubt that widespread use of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) has brought polio eradication within reach. However, some strains of polio virus are not addressed with OPV, which points to the fact that we need to adopt an alternative vaccine like IPV (inactivated injectable polio vaccine) to deal with the situation.
“This IPV which contains ‘killed’ polio viruses cannot replicate and therefore carries no risk of turning wild against vaccine-derived poliovirus and vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis and the risk of relapse is less compared to the OPV.”
Dr Rachel, head of the department of paediatrics at Bangalore Baptist Hospital told Deccan Chronicle, “We have been getting cases of NPAFP at our hospital too. About two months ago we had a five-year-old kid with GB syndrome. We informed the State surveillance medical officer who had come to the hospital and taken his fluid for testing. Reports are awaited. However, the child is recovering.”