Crippling disease: Two more polio cases confirmed

Published: March 2, 2014

File photo showing a child being given polio drops. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: 

With two more cases confirmed on Saturday, the total number of polio cases registered in Pakistan has reached 24, according to Prime Minister’s Polio Cell.

As yet, over 20 of these cases originated from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the rest were indentified in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

The first of the recently identified cases, Saad is a five-month-old boy from Danday Derpa Khal in Miramshah, North Waziristan Agency. According to the cell, Saad has not received a single dose of the oral polio vaccine (OPV).

The second case confirmed on Saturday is that of Fatima. The 18-month-old girl is the daughter of Maula Khan, a resident of Jani Khel, Frontier Region Bannu. Fatima also has not received a single
OPV dose.

A communication consultant at the PM’s Polio Cell told The Express Tribune that by February 24, 2013, only five polio cases had been reported across Pakistan. However by May 22, 2013, the number of polio cases had risen to around 10, according to news reports.

The rapid rate of polio incidence, coupled with strains of the virus in China, Afghanistan, Israel and Syria being linked back to Pakistan places the country in a sticky situation. With terms like ‘polio exporter’ being bandied around, travel embargos are a distinct possibility. India has already suggested polio drops before crossing borders.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2014.

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