Friday February 28, 2020

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

ALSO READ:

  • 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

US Commission Urges India to Take Steps to Resolve Communal Riots in New Delhi

US Commission Demands India Act After Religious Riots

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New Delhi Riots
A resident look at burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

A U.S. government commission on Wednesday faulted India’s response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the U.S. government but does not set policy, voiced “grave concern” about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting.

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration. “We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” he said in a statement.

Anurima Bhargava, a commissioner appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voiced alarm at reports that Delhi police “have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims.” “The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” she said. “The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.”

New Delhi Riots
Firefighters stand near a fire rescue vehicle as they douse burnt-out tyre market premises following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India’s citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

The criticism stands in contrast to the reticence of elected U.S. leaders. Trump, asked at a news conference in Delhi about the violence, said the issue was “up to India” and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “incredible” statements on religious freedom.

The clashes in Delhi, which have left at least 27 people dead, were triggered by protests against a citizenship law seen by critics as anti-Muslim and part of Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi has called for calm, although witnesses said police did little to stop Hindu mobs.

His government has previously vowed to weed out “infiltrators” from India, with Home Minister Amit Shah likening undocumented immigrants to “termites. The government says the citizenship law does not target minorities but instead ensures protection for non-Muslims persecuted in neighboring countries.

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The Indian foreign ministry previously reprimanded the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom for denouncing the citizenship law. The commission also plans a public hearing next week on how citizenship laws, including in India and Myanmar, are used to target religious minorities. (VOA)