The Telangana government on Tuesday decided to conduct a special campaign against polio after a particular type of polio virus was found in sewerage water in the city.
The virus (vaccine derived polio virus type-II) was found in the lab tests conducted on samples of sewerage water collected at Amberpet, according to Rajeshwar Tiwari, Principal Secretary (Health) of the state government.
Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV) strain has not been seen in the country for more than five years. While no case of polio has been reported so far, the strain, doctors said, must be contained as it continues to be reported in neighbouring countries and West Asia that are well connected with Hyderabad. The government said it’s launching a massive vaccination programme as a preventive measure.
“The government has decided to conduct a special campaign against polio in Hyderabad and parts of Ranga Reddy from June 20 to June 26,” said Mr. Tiwari. He added that this wasn’t the first time that the strain was traced. The wild polio strain was previously detected in Bihar, Gujarat, UP and even Delhi.
The statement also explained that the polio virus strain that has been detected is a vaccine derived poliovirus or VDPV. “No children have been found to be affected by the detected VDPV isolate in the nearby areas. The detection of vaccine derived polio virus (VPDV) does not change the polio free status. It only indicates the robustness of the surveillance system and willingness of the country to detect any kind of polio virus even from the environment (sewage),” the statement added.
Vaccine derived polioviruses are rare strain of the polioviruses that have genetically mutated from the strain contained in the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
Between Jan 2015 and May 2016, a total of 14 sewage samples collected from different parts of the country tested positive for VDPVs. All of these have been responded to urgently and appropriately with polio vaccination campaigns.