NEW DELHI, AUG. 31.– Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Health Minister, has issued a statement of instructions today for the benefit of the general public in preventing the spread of poliomyelitis, commonly known as infantile paralysis.
There have been a few cases of poliomyelitis in Delhi and the disease has lately raised its head in an epidemic form in some cities of India, according to the statement of the Health Minister.
Poliomyelitis is caused by a minute organism called “virus” which enters the body through the mouth, the food passage and the nose. In spite of its name adults may also become its victims.
Food contaminated by flies, it has been experimentally proved, can produce the disease. Therefore, flies being important carriers all edibles, the statement says, should be protected from flies.
“Every effort must be made to destroy flies. Garbage heaps foster fly-breeding. These and all dustbins should be sprayed with 5 to 10 per cent D.D.T. solution.”.
The statement adds: “The onset of the disease is generally with high fever and headache, running of the nose and occasional bleeding from it. Children are often drowsy and adults are usually restless. Stiffening of the neck is often present. Paralysis especially of the legs is a common resultant. Mortality amongst children is fairly high, death being due to failure of respiration. Survivors are liable to suffer from varying degrees of paralysis of the limbs and degeneration of the muscles.
“Complete isolation of the patient is necessary for three weeks and segregation of contacts is essential. Cases should be immediately reported to the medical authority.
“Infection is carried by discharges from the mouth, nose and feces. These therefore should be disinfected. Water, If not chlorinated, should be boiled, before drinking. Children should not be permitted to bathe in streams, lakes or swimming pools. Over-crowded places like cinemas and bazaars should be avoided, particularly by children. As much time as possible should be spent in the open air.
Personal cleanliness, cleanliness of the house and environment is most essential. In particular, hands must invariably be washed before eating or drinking. All cups, tumblers and plates in hotels and open stalls where food and drinks are sold to the public must be satisfactorily disinfected.
“Extreme fatigue should be avoided and sudden chilling as from a plunge into cold water on a very hot day should be avoided. Gargling and nasal washes will be helpful.