A poliomyelitis outbreak in northern India has spread to five states in the region, resulting in a ten-fold increase in the number of registered polio cases in 2006. The disease has affected 416 people this year (as on 13th September 2006) in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, compared to 43 cases registered in the corresponding period last year. Poliomyelitis, which is also known as polio or infantile paralysis, is caused by ‘poliovirus’, which enters the body orally and affects the central nervous system, causing muscle weakness and paralysis. Eradication efforts spearheaded by the World Health Organization and The Rotary Foundation  have contained this disease in many countries. However, polio remains as an endemic disease in countries like Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

Scientists believe that the recent outbreak of Polio in Uttar Pradesh in India, could lead to a global outbreak of this disease, as it is highly communicable and India has a large migrant population, which could easily carry the poliovirus around the globe. Genetical analysis of the poliovirus that recently emerged in several polio-free countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Angola, Congo and Nambia, indicate that they might have originated in India, confirming the worst fears of the scientists of an ‘global outbreak’. The local administration in western Uttar Pradesh (the most populous state in India) is struggling to contain this outbreak, as more than 40% of government medical officer posts in the affected districts are vacant.

Read more of this story…

Be Sociable, Share!