Staff Reporter

Govt. blames `rogue' neighbouring States

  • "Delhi has a history of migrating `polio-infected' population"
  • "Health Dept. says polio drops used are highly effective"

    NEW DELHI: With four cases of polio coming to light here in the Capital, the Delhi Government on Tuesday went into damage control mode and claimed that Delhi continued to remain in the "high risk polio zone" as it had a rogue neighbour in Uttar Pradesh which remains a major source of the polio virus despite several rounds of the Pulse Polio vaccination programme.

    Speaking about the cases, Principal Secretary (Health) D.S. Negi said: "Preliminary investigations into three new polio cases detected recently have revealed that all three cases had a link with polio-infected States. Delhi has had a history of trouble with the migrating `polio-infected' population."

    According to health experts, all the three new patients -- two-year-old Sheikh Ashraf from Jahangirpuri, one-year-old Shivender from Badarpur and eight-month-old Sameer Ali from Okhla-- had a history of travel to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which are known sources of the virus.

    Admitting that the surfacing of polio cases in Delhi was a cause for concern, a senior health official said: "It is not that the polio drops that we are using are not effective, but we have children coming to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan who have missed their Pulse Polio round and thus are carrying the infection with them, which then due to prevailing unhygienic condition is passed on. This is a never-ending process, which will keep the city in the high risk zone."

    The State Health Department reiterated that polio drops used by them are highly effective and that all necessary measures are in place to protect the children against polio.

    Polio Cell head C.M. Khanijo said: "All children should get at least eight to ten polio doses so that immunity is built against the virus. The amount of vaccine drops that are administered are as approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and these have proved to be efficient. The recent cases of polio have surfaced in the Capital after a gap of nearly 21 months and we are keenly following them."