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Suspected Case Of Polio Under Investigation In India, Threatens Country’s Eradication Efforts

On Monday, “a girl admitted to a hospital in West Bengal with polio-like symptoms sparked worries that India’s battle against polio may not be over yet,” the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog reports, noting, “The suspected polio case … comes just two weeks after the WHO removed India from the list of countries where polio is endemic” (Stancati, 3/14). “‘It is a suspected case of polio. In medical parlance, the symptoms are called acute flaccid paralysis. The patient is under observation,’ Kumar Kanti Das, superintendent of Baruipur Subdivisional Hospital, [where the girl was admitted,] told the local Hindustan Times newspaper,” the Guardian writes (Burke, 3/13).

Nata Menabde, the WHO representative to India, “says there is no evidence to suggest the case reported there is any different from the roughly 8,000 cases of acute flaccid paralysis that have been investigated in India since the beginning of the year, none of which turned out to be polio,” the blog states (3/14). “The district health administration has collected samples of stool of the suspect and sent them to the union health ministry-run laboratory,” according to the Hindustan Times, which notes, “WHO has set up a national polio lab there in order to test the stool samples of polio suspects coming from across the states in eastern India” (3/13). According to Menabde, the results “are expected to be released by the end of the month,” the blog notes (3/14).