Unhealthy concerns: Vehari reports 4th polio case of 2011

Published: December 28, 2011

Residents say polio virus in district is linked to sewage in water supply. PHOTO COURTESY BY SHAHID MIRZA

VEHARI: Health officials in the district have confirmed another polio case in one-year-old Shoaib on Tuesday.

According to health officials, Mailsi village Basti Shaamlaat resident Muhammad Aslam’s son Shoaib recently developed a fever and was unable to walk. “My son is only a year old but he was crawling and walking but recently he couldn’t even move his legs. When I took him to the hospital they began testing for polio,” he told The Express Tribune.

Aslam told doctor’s that Shoaib had been developing symptoms for the past 20 days. Vehari DHQ hospital doctors confirmed that Shoaib was suffering from polio. “I don’t understand how this could happen because I had my son vaccinated soon after his birth. The vaccine must have been faulty because I got all the drops and shots,” he added.

Several villagers protested against health authorities, saying that whenever a polio case cropped up health officials immediately ordered more polio vaccinations in the area. “Why don’t they realise it sooner and what is wrong with the vaccines that people who have been immunised are still developing symptoms?” resident Rukhsana said. Health officials have already announced a new polio drive in the area from January 2 and said they would provide vaccination to more than 5,000 children in the area. Talking to The Express Tribune, EDO (Health) Dr Afzal Saaqib said that health authorities had been working round the clock to eradicate the polio virus in Punjab. “We have been doing our best but the real challenge is the literacy rate in this area. People are illiterate and they think there is some western conspiracy behind the vaccines,” he added.

The EDO said that the Punjab government had given special instructions to eradicate the polio virus from Punjab on top priority. “This is the fourth Vehari polio case this year,” he said. The last case involved an 8-year-old girl Sana from Karampur village. Southern Punjab has been facing a rise of polio cases and health officials earlier found traces of the polio virus in sewage samples. Several samples taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Department have confirmed reports of the polio virus in several sewer water samples taken from different parts of the district. “This may mean more polio cases in the province,” said a Health Department official Razia Shah.

Local citizens fear that the water supply lines could easily be mixed with sewerage pipe lines in most cities of the province.

Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) management authorities said that they had already been working to repair sewerage and water supply lines in the area.

An anti-polio campaign lead by Dr Nima Abid confirmed that the traces of the polio virus in sewerage water could severely compromise the organization’s efforts.

“This is a very dangerous situation but we have already contacted Wasa and luckily the problem was brought to our attention in time,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.

Reader Comments (4)

  • Imran
    Dec 28, 2011 - 7:04PM

    @ET: “Water supply lines, it appears, can easily mix with sewerage pipelines in most cities of the province. Water and Sanitation Authority management says that they have already begun working on repairing these lines.”

    Heck of a job Shahbaz Sharif has been doing in the name of good governance. I thought he was already giving us clean water to drink, taking care of our health, and providing necessary vaccinations to our children against diseases which seem to have been eradicated from the world except from Pakistan.

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  • Acorn Guts
    Dec 28, 2011 - 7:15PM

    … polio virus particles in sewerage samples …

    virus particles … seriously ET? I agree though, the real challenge is educating the masses and bringing up our literacy rate, the quoted text above can be considered an example to further elaborate my point.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:58AM

    “I don’t understand how this could happen because I had my son vaccinated soon after his birth. The vaccine must have been faulty because I got all the drops and shots,” he added.

    Is there a fake pharmaceutical racket going on in Pakistan? Once vaccinated, that child should have developed proper immunity against polio. Recommend

  • Dec 30, 2011 - 9:59PM

    We need more and better anti-polio vaccinations.

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