Polio cases surface in Balochistan, KP – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Two more cases of poliomyelitis have been reported, one of each from Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bringing the count of the current year to 60.

The count is five times higher than last year and 7.5 times higher than in 2017.

An official from the Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), requesting anonymity, said the Baluchistan case was reported from the Gulistan region of the Qilla Abdullah district.

"The child who has become paralyzed due to the polio virus is a 17-month-old boy and was not given a single dose of vaccine because his uncle and grandfather refused for religious reasons," he said.

"Unfortunately, we have faced severe resistance in the area and in April of this year two polio workers were killed there. We have been considering seeking Army support to ensure vaccination in the area," he said.

Parents refused to vaccinate their children in two cases reported on Wednesday

He said the second case was reported by Lakki Marwat, where a five-month-old girl had been infected with the paralyzing disease virus.

"The investigation shows that it was also a case of rejection since the parents had kept the markers in their home and used to mark the child's fingers on the first day of the polio campaign to show that the child was already vaccinated," he said.

The prime minister’s focal point for polio eradication, Babar bin Atta, confirmed that two more cases of polio were reported in Balochistan and KP.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by the polio virus and mainly affects children under five. 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 paralyzing disease.

Every time a child under five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus increases. Repeated vaccines have protected millions of children against polio, allowing almost every country in the world to become polio free.

There are only two countries in the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where polio cases are reported. Pakistan remains under a travel restriction related to polio imposed by the World Health Organization because, since 2014, all people traveling abroad must carry a polio vaccination certificate.

Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this report.

Posted on Dawn, September 5, 2019

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1503580/polio-cases-surface-in-balochistan-kp

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