Pakistan

North Waziristan reports 12th wild polio case

ISLAMABAD, JULY 14, 2022 – A 21-month-old boy has been paralyzed by wild polio in the 12th case in Pakistan this year. All children belong to North Waziristan.

The child had onset of paralysis on 18 June and belongs to Mir Ali (UC-2), the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad has confirmed.

The southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, namely North and South Waziristan, DI Khan, Bannu, Tank and Lakki Marwat, are at highest risk of wild poliovirus transmission. Bannu also reported two positive environmental samples between April and May this year, confirming that ongoing wild poliovirus transmission is not limited to North Waziristan.

Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said the Pakistan Polio Programme has had repeated immunization campaigns in southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since the first child was reported with polio-induced paralysis and continues to strive to ensure that the virus does not spread.

“Even though these cases are happening in the same part of the country, parents and caregivers around Pakistan must remain extremely vigilant and give their children repeated doses of the polio vaccine,” said Federal Health Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam Irfan.

According to preliminary investigations, the child has been paralyzed in the right leg.

This year, 13 cases have been reported from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the only two polio endemic countries left in the world.

Note for the Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, besides the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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