`News reports of polio case in West Bengal wrong`

New Delhi: An 18-month old girl from West Bengal, who media reports had claimed was suffering from polio, has tested negative for the virus, the Union Health Ministry said today.

"Both the stool samples of the child were found negative for polio in the Institute of Serology Kolkata," the ministry said in statement today.

The ministry statement said that a section of media flashed the girl named Sumi`s case as a `polio case` and reported it as a huge setback to India`s polio eradication program.

In its statement, the ministry said that the child Sumi Naskar from Baruipur, 24-Parganas South, was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata earlier this month from where she was picked up by the polio surveillance network for investigation.

As part of surveillance for polio, any child less than 15 years of age who suddenly develops floppiness or weakness or paralysis in any part of the body is investigated thoroughly, the ministry said.

These cases are called Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases. Polio is one of the several causes of AFP and not the only cause for AFP, the ministry further said.

Two stool samples of the girl were collected on 13 March and 14 March and sent to the Institute of Serology Kolkata for investigation, the ministry said and added that stool samples are collected from all AFP cases and tested to rule out polio as a cause of the illness.

"Sumi is one of the many AFP cases detected this year and investigated for polio. In 2012 so far, around 9,000 AFP cases have been investigated by NPSP with the support of local
health authorities," the ministry statement said.

The ministry said that all the stool samples of these AFP cases had tested negative for polio and an update of the cases under investigation is available on the website of the
National Polio Surveillance Project.

The Health ministry said that India has not reported any case of polio since 13 January 2011 and has been struck off the list of countries with active endemic wild polio transmission in February 2012.

The ministry in its statement, however, added that "the job is not yet done".

"As the risk of polio persists, the surveillance for polio continues to be of the highest sensitivity, detecting and investigating all cases of AFP to rule out polio. An AFP case cannot be reported as polio until confirmed by a laboratory," the ministry statement said.