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Polio virus resurfaces in India, after 5 years

An active strain of wild polio virus was detected in a water sample collected from a drain in Hyderabad

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Jun 15 2016 12:00PM | Updated Date: Jun 15 2016 12:00PM

Polio virus resurfaces in India, after 5 years

Telangana government on Tuesday sounded a "medical emergency" after an active strain of wild polio virus (P2 strain) was detected in a water sample collected from a drain. The government immediately airlifted two lakh vaccines from Geneva to inoculate more than three lakh children in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district. 


Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV) strain has not been seen in the country for more than five years. While no case of polio has been reported so far, the strain, doctors said, may come from the neightnouring countries.


VDPV is continues to be reported in countries of West Asia that are well connected with Hyderabad. The government said it's launching a massive vaccination programme as a preventive measure.


Rajeshwar Tiwari, prinicipal secretary, health said that the government has decided to conduct a special campaign against polio in Hyderabad and parts of Ranga Reddy from June 20 to June 26. He added that this wasn't the first time that the strain was traced. The wild polio strain was previously detected in Bihar, Gujarat, UP and even in Delhi.


The strain was found in a sewerage sample taken from the Amberpet sewerage treatment plant on May 17. The report of the same came out on Tuesday evening. Thirty samples were taken during routine surveillance from various parts of the city as a safety measure.


The earlier administered oral polio vaccine contained P1, P2 and P3 strains, but with the P2 strain of the virus not surfacing in a long time, the vaccines too did not contain the P2 strain.


"In this case, the P2 strain is vaccine derived. Someone vaccinated 10 months to a year back released the strain through stool. Such rare cases happen when a child's immunity is very low. To avoid such stray cases, that happen one in a million, the P2 strain is no longer given even in vaccines," said Dr G Srinivasa Rao, Chief Programme Officer, National Health Mission, Telangana.