Maharashtra has not been chosen for the pulse polio immunisation round scheduled on May 23. Reason: The state is doing extremely well with tackling the virus. The last wild poliovirus in sewage sample was found in December 2009 in Mumbai.
Since then, the state has not reported any polio cases or presence of virus in the environment, which the authorities feel is a sign to rejoice.
The India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) for Polio which schedules the polio immunisation rounds across the country studied the polio figures and decided to leave out Maharashtra in this round.
“It is an extremely good sign that the environment also does not have any polio virus strains,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, assistant health officer, polio surveillance, BMC.
According to Gomare, in January 2009, a P1 strain was detected in a sewage sample in Mumbai. The P1 strain is considered to be a severe one. After continuous mop up rounds, in December 2009, the sewage strain was detected with P3 strain which is not so severe.
“Every week, three sewage samples are sent for testing at the Haffkine Laboratory to detect the polio virus. Since December 2009 till date we have not detected the polio virus so far,” added Gomare.
The authorities say that the routine pulse polio drives as well as the supplementary rounds have been carried out thoroughly across Maharashtra. “Also, this is the eighth consecutive week where we have not got a single polio case or a polio virus strain in a sewage sample across India,” said Ravindra Banpel, regional team leader, west, National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP).
Banpel added that the overwhelming results in Maharashtra and a few other parts of the country are due to their strong routine immunisation rounds.
However, the immunisation rounds in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are as per schedule on May 23.