Monday, February 14, 2011

A Polio case suspected in Bidar in Karnataka

A 13 -month old child in Walsang village in Bhalki taluk has been diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Paralysis. Doctors suspect that one of the causes of the condition may be Polio.

On December 29, Gouse Khan, a farmer from Walsang took his 13 months old son Sharbaz Khan to the primary health centre at Beeri (B) village complaining that he was unable to move his legs `like other children of his age’. The paediatrician in the hospital suspected nerve injury and referred him to the taluk hospital. Medical tests were done in Bhalki and Bidar and doctors decided that it was a case of acute flaccid paralysis. Stool samples have been sent to hi-tech laboratories in Bangalore and Mumbai. The child has been sent to Hyderabad for motor neuron testing on Friday. A senior doctor has accompanied the child to Hyderabad.
``Records show the child had received all the immunization doses due for his age. However, there are several ways in which infections can spread. The child might have been exposed to infections from a patient in his surroundings, the inter-state travel of the family or any other person carrying dormant strains of the virus,’’ sources said.

However, doctors say there is no cause for panic. ``Every year, we refer 30-40 cases of Paralysis for detailed tests. I think this is one such case,’’ said Reproductive Child Health officer Sharanayya Swamy.
``Polio is just one of the several causes of Paralysis. Apart from Polio, paralysis can be caused by Transverse myelitis, Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome, enteroviral encephalopathy, traumatic neuritis, Reye's syndrome and deep injury affecting motor nerves,’’ district health and family welfare officer Dr Satish Ekhellikar said. ``The rule is that every case of acute flaccid Paralysis should be thoroughly investigated and that is what we are doing now,’’ Dr Ekhellikar said.

``If the tests prove positive, we have to accept the fact and work harder,’’ Deputy Commissioner Sameer Shukla said. ``We have to reach more people and see that not a single child is left out. More importantly, we have to ensure that this does not set off a panic reaction and derail the immunization process,’’ Mr Shukla said.

According to government sources, the last case of Polio in Karnataka was detected in 2007. ``Bidar has remained Polio-free for 12 years. If we have a fresh case on our hands now, we need to introspect on our work, on the cold chain that stores and transports Polio vaccines and the process in which vaccination is done. Awareness levels among the people should be raised and civil society should work closely with the government in ensuring that no child is left out,’’ sources said. Eom

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