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Now,polio surveillance programme covers AFP cases to rule out virus

When Jagannath Kalokhe’s son Sagar (11) was paralysed after a viral fever,the 40-year-old worker at a rubber factory in Satara was devastated.

Written by Anuradha Mascharenhas | Pune |
October 24, 2013 2:49:25 am

When Jagannath Kalokhe’s son Sagar (11) was paralysed after a viral fever,the 40-year-old worker at a rubber factory in Satara was devastated. After four months of treatment at Pune’s Sassoon hospital,Sagar although weak,has now started walking and also assists his family in household chores. Similarly,10-year-old Sanket Ulhalkar from Bhor,who also suffered a paralysis and underwent five-month treatment at Sassoon,is now able to stand on his feet.

These two cases are among the many cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) that are now being covered under the polio surveillance programme. To mark the World Polio Day,which is observed on October 24,the surveillance programme has been expanded to include severe forms of paralysis to rule out the virus.

Dr Aarti Kinikar,nodal officer for AFP surveillance programme at Sassoon,said that any child with paralysis is closely monitored so that polio viral infection can be ruled out.

“If the children are brought early for treatment,injection immunoglobulin can be administered to help their immediate recovery. This year,six cases of AFP were registered at the hospital. Of the six patients,five were on put ventilator support and have now recovered and regained strength in their limbs. Last year,there were 10 cases,” said Kinikar.

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Officials said with the surveillance programme picking up momentum,as many as 132 cases of AFP have been detected in Pune district this year.

AFP can be caused by a number of conditions,but the most common cause is poliomyelits. Sanket and Sagar suffered from a condition called Guillain Barre Syndrome,which signifies a paralytic condition. GB syndrome usually affects the lower limbs and ascends to other limbs.

Kinikar said we collect stool samples and send them for examination to rule out polio virus. Hence,this active surveillance for severe forms of paralysis has also been able to detect more polio cases and help doctors provide immediate treatment,he added.

Initially,there is weakness in the legs that tend to buckle and subsequently the arms and facial muscles also get affected. Most of the times,children have to be ventilated for months as they have difficulty in breathing,said chief resident Dr Vinod Kedari who along with Dr Rajesh Kulkarni and Dr Aniket Kumbhojkar have been monitoring AFP cases.

Three years of ‘polio-free India’

India will earn three years of polio-free status in another three months. To prevent the import of virus,polio immunisation is being carried out at borders along Pakistan,Nepal,Bangladesh and Myanmar,officials said. There is a risk of polio resurgence through a distant or cross border import of virus from countries where virus continues to spell its . Only recently,11 outbreaks of wild polio virus were registered in Pakistan,Afghanistan,Ethiopia and Somalia. So far,this year the total number of polio cases have gone up to 296,with 99 from endemic countries and 197 from outbreak countries. Health officials of immunisation department of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told Newsline that nation-wide polio vaccination campaign has covered nearly 172 million children.

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