A new polio case has surfaced from North Waziristan Agency – one of militants-infested area of Federally Administrative Tribal Area (Fata).
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad confirmed the new case on Saturday. However, like all other cases that have surfaced from Fata so far, the infected child had not received any dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
The affected child is 11 months old male child from village Hurmaz, tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan agency. With this new case the total number of polio cases has reached 74, including six from Punjab, seven from Sindh, ten from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 51 from Fata.
In North Waziristan the number of reported polio cases have reached 24 – the majority of these children having not received polio vaccination due to a ban imposed by the militants.
Dr Ni’ma Saeed Abid, the World Health Organisation (WHO) country head for Pakistan, said the three polio-endemic countries – Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan – risk becoming source of spreading wild poliovirus.
Earlier on Wednesday, the emergence of two poliovirus cases in Karachi within 24 hours had prompted the head of WHO’s polio eradication initiative in Pakistan, Dr Elias Durry, to signal that the city is likely to head towards an ‘explosive polio outbreak’.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2013.