Another seven polio cases confirmed in Pakistan

Five cases reported in KPK province, one each in Punjab and Sindh

By: Saleem Jadoon      Published: 07:49 PM, 23 Feb, 2020
Another seven polio cases confirmed in Pakistan
30-month-old Faiq Ali Jakhrani. Staff photo

Seven polio cases have been reported in different parts of the country, only days after the completion of a nationwide drive to eradicate the crippling disease.

The cases reported on Sunday came from three provinces – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.

According to the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) for Polio Eradication, four polio cases surfaced in Khyber district of KP, one in Nowshera (also in KP) and one in Rawalpindi city of Punjab, while one case was confirmed by the Kandhkot DO (health) in Sindh province.

The fresh cases took the total number of polio cases reported this year to 24 – a frightening figure for under two-month period.

The surge in polio cases despite running of intensive and extensive campaigns in recent years against this scourge shows the enormity of the challenge. 

The recently concluded countrywide vaccination campaign was carried out with a target of hundred percent coverage and focus on areas considered as virus reservoirs.

According to details provided by the NEOC, the polio cases in Khyber include a 14-month-old baby boy, whose sample was collected on Jan 17-18 and who had received routine immunization vaccine.

Another polio victim is a 13-month-old baby boy, whose sample was collected on Jan 19-20. The third and fourth affected babies are a 25-month-old baby girl and a 19-month-old boy. Their samples were collected on Jan 25-27.

The NEOC said that in Khyber, the first round of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2 (mOPV2) round was conducted on Jan 29 - Feb 4 and two rounds are planned in March.

In Nowshera, the polio victim is a 31-month-old baby boy, whose sample was collected on Jan 24-26.

According to officials, two rounds of mOPV2 campaign have been conducted in January - one before the onset of the case (Jan 13-17) and one after the onset (Jan 29 - Feb 02).

In Rawalpindi, poliovirus has been confirmed in a 13-month-old baby girl, whose sample was collected on Jan 21-22.

In this area, two rounds of mOPV2 campaign were conducted in November 2019 (Nov 11-15 and Nov 25-29) while further risk mitigation is to be based on field investigations and fresh assessment.

The polio case reported from Sindh is the second in Kandhkot district in a span of 10 days.

District Health Officer Dr Nazir Ahmed Awan confirmed poliovirus in 30-month-old Faiq Ali Jakhrani, a resident of UC 46.

Earlier, a baby girl was found infected with poliovirus in the same district.

The health official said that teams have been sent to Village Fazal Muhammad Hajano to assess the situation there.