Pakistan confirms year’s third polio case
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Pakistan has confirmed another case of the poliovirus, the third this year, raising alarm bells among the health experts that the wild virus is now active, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A Ministry of Health spokesman confirmed the polio case in a one-year-old child from North Waziristan and described it a matter of concern.
Minister for National Health Abdul Qadir Patel maintained that the non-eradication of poliovirus in Pakistan was a major dilemma as discovery of just one polio case was very harmful for the country.
The minister asserted that in order to save the children from life-long paralysis the parents should get their children vaccinated.
On April 29 last, a two-year-old girl was paralyzed by the wild poliovirus in the second case confirmed in Pakistan this year. The child had an onset of paralysis on April 14.
The new type-1 wild poliovirus (WPV1) was confirmed from North Waziristan on 29 April 2022 by the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health in Islamabad.
On 22 April, a 15-month boy had been confirmed with wild polio with an onset of paralysis on 9 April. Both children are from North Waziristan, southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and belonged to adjacent union councils Mir Ali.
The WPV1 cases are genetically linked and belonged to the same virus cluster, further validating the Pakistan Polio Programme’s concerns for southern KP, where continuous virus circulation had been detected.
Southern KP had been identified by the polio programme as the area most at risk after wild poliovirus was detected in environmental samples in the last quarter of 2021. Following this, an emergency action plan was initiated in January this year that was allowing the programme to reach more children than ever before and protect them from the paralytic virus before it affects more lives.
As a response to the last case detection, an emergency vaccination campaign was launched on April 28 in southern KP.
In 2020, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported 22 polio cases, while no wild poliovirus cases were recorded in the province last year. In 2021, Pakistan reported one case on 27 January 2021 in Killa Abdullah, Balochistan.
Reporter Saba Bajeer