Telangana Government will launch a special polio vaccination drive from June 20 after an active strain of vaccine derived polio virus (VDPV) was detected on Monday in a sewage sample collected near the Secunderabad railway station. However, no children have been found to be affected by the detected VDPV isolate in the nearby areas, said Dr Sanjeev Upadhyaya, Health Specialist, UNICEF Office for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
The samples known as environment samples were collected on May 17 by the Institute of Preventive Medicine from sewage canals in Secunderabad and Amberpet and were sent for testing at a WHO-recognised government lab at Mumbai.
“The samples tested positive for the VDPV strain following which the action plan to launch a special vaccination drive was chalked out at meetings held Tuesday,’’ Dr Upadhyaya said. Telangana Health Minister C Laxma Reddy said that there was no need to panic as no case of polio was found in a radius of several kilometers from where the strain was detected but as a precautionary measure a special drive will be launched to inoculate nearly 3 lakh children in Hyderabad and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district. “Health workers and staff will visit homes individually and inform and we are appealing to parents with children in the age group of six weeks to 3 years to get their children vaccinated in this special drive in the identified areas in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy,’’ the Health Minister said.
“The special immunisation campaign will ensure all vulnerable children living in high-risk areas are given protection against polio,’’ he said.