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Mosquito-Borne West Nile Virus Shows Polio-Like Symptoms

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Two months after the country earned its polio-free tag, a mosquito has emerged as a fresh concern. Mosquito-borne West Nile virus has been found to be causing acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), the main symptom of poliomyelitis, for the first time in India. The symptom is the most common sign of acute polio and is used for surveillance during polio outbreaks.

However, unlike polio which is a childhood disease, West Nile induced AFP is seen in adults. So, the finding is not going to undermine the success of polio-free certification, say researchers, but is still reason for concern. Nationwide AFP surveillance is the gold standard to detect polio cases.

Neurologists from hospitals in Kochi, Kerala along with virologists from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) designated virology laboratory Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR), Manipal University have reported three laboratory confirmed cases of West Nile virus induced AFP, a syndrome historically associated with infection by polio virus.

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