1.7 lakh kids live near polio risk zone in Telangana: WHO Survey

Hyderabad: As per the enumeration programme carried out by health department officials ahead of the special inactivated polio drive to be carried out from June 20 to June 26, it was found that 1.7 lakh children live in the areas surrounding the 11-km Amberpet Nala from where the wild polio virus was found.

District health officials of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy have been going door-to-door, enlisting children aged six weeks to three years and urging parents to opt for the inactivated polio drive.

Polio drops

District medical and health official Dr Venkateshwar Rao said, “Too many questions are being asked by parents who are concerned why another vaccine must be given to the child. They are concerned and to dispel their myths, the enumeration drive is being carried out.”

The survey has so far revealed 1.7 lakh children but the estimates show that 30,000 more children need to be covered. A senior officer said, “The full area is being scouted around by government officials to ensure that no child is left out.

“There is also a fear that the virus has been excreted from a HIV-positive child whose immune system has been compromised. Although there are no new cases of polio, officials from the World Health Organisation have stressed that all children must be covered. Which is why we are working on the new numbers and data, which are showing a wide gap.”

Children falling ill often and who are not breast fed are at high risk
Pediatricians in the city have been roped in by the state to explain the concept of inactivated polio vaccine to parents. Dr Sharmila Kaza said, “It is an injectable polio vaccine and not the oral polio mass immunization, because the oral polio vaccine no longer contains the type 2 polio virus. The old oral vaccine contained three strains, but the inactivated polio vaccine immunizes against type 2 also, which is important. The virus in Amberpet Nala is from the polio vaccine so kids with low immunity need it.” Children who fall ill often or who are not breast fed, are at high risk, said experts.

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