Thursday April 18, 2019

Traces of Polio Virus Found in Water Samples in Southern India

India's last case of polio was in 2011, and the country was officially declared polio-free in 2014

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FILE - A man bathes a child with a water pump beside a polio awareness campaign poster on the wall of a small shop in the village of Kosi, some 180 kilometers (113 miles) from Patna, India. Image source: AP
  • Traces of polio samples were found in South India last month in May
  • India has been declared polio-free since 2014
  • Officials said it was not a reason to panic since the strain was vaccine-inflected

After years of a deliberate fight against the deadly disease, active strain of the poliomyelitis virus was found in sewage samples in southern India collected last month, officials announced Wednesday.

polio
A child receiving vaccine drops. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Around 300,000 children ages three to six in Hyderabad, a city of nearly 7 million, will be vaccinated in the coming week.

India’s last case of polio was in 2011, and the country was officially declared polio-free in 2014.

As the news spread, national health officials are calling on residents of Hyderabad to maintain their calm, maintaining that India is still poliovirus free.

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“This is not the first time that a strain has been found but it is a vaccine-derived strain that is found commonly in children with low levels of immunity,” CK Mishra, a Health Ministry secretary told reporters.

“They excrete it, which is why it is found in the sewage samples.”

State health officials also told residents not to panic, saying that tests to find traces of the virus in the environment have been carried out regularly since the country was declared polio free five years ago.

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India worked with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and several volunteer organizations to fight a decades-long battle eradicating the crippling disease, which is why the public is slightly alarmed at this new development.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Paras Vashisth

    If this is true than should be check it out properly without any loose point because India must have to polio virus free.

    • Raman Chatterjee

      True That!

  • Aparna Gupta

    Proper measures must be taken to check Polio virus otherwise it will stop India to become polio free nation.

    • Vartika Das

      I agree!

Next Story

UN: Geneva Can Improve the Health of Citizens Using Digital Technology

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people's health

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health, citizens, digital technology
FILE - A doctor uses a smartphone to take a photo of a child with facial deformity before surgery at the Vietnam Cuba hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention.

The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients. The United Nations said 51 percent of the world’s population has access to broadband internet service.

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health.

health
Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health. Pixabay

She told VOA the technology enables people, even in the remotest settings, to leapfrog into the development of a more effective, inclusive health system. With the use of mobile phones, computers and laptops, she said it is possible to bypass the intervening stages many countries have had to go through.

“So, a health worker in Congo can directly start using a mobile phone if the government is able to provide one to the health worker and get away from filling 30 paper registers, which occupy about one-third of front-line health workers time,” she added.

New recommendations

The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems.

health
The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems. Pixabay

A WHO scientist specializing in digital innovations and research, Garrett Mehl, said the recommendations deal with issues such as birth notification.

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“Knowing that a baby has been born is critical to knowing how to provide vaccinations; knowing that the mother needs different post-natal care visits,” he said. “But without knowing that there was a birth that has happened, it is difficult to trigger those events in the health system.”

The guidelines also address privacy concerns.They have recommendations for ensuring that sensitive data, such as issues of sexual and reproductive health, are protected and not put at risk. (VOA)