- 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.
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