Crippling virus ‘kills’ minor girl in Faisalabad

Balochistan reports first polio case of the year


Mohammad Zafar/shamsul Islam February 24, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

FAISALABAD/ QUETTA: A minor girl allegedly crippled by the poliovirus died in Faisalabad on Tuesday while receiving medical treatment for weakness. Samples have been sent to Islamabad for confirmation of polio.

Three-year-old Basri Farrukh Shah, a resident of Chak 68 Mor Jowai Mohallah, had been admitted to the Allied Hospital three weeks ago, officials told The Express Tribune. The girl was paralysed and the doctors diagnosed the girl had been severely affected by poliovirus.

Though rare, people can die of polio because of paralysis. In severe cases, the throat and chest may be paralysed, resulting in death if the patient does not receive immediate artificial breathing support. Between 2% and 5% of children affected with paralytic polio die. The percentage among adults is much higher between 15% and 30%.

Allied Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Rashid Maqbool said the girl had been facing severe weakness problems. “During initial check-up, the doctors were suspicious the child may have contracted poliomyelitis. She was admitted to the hospital and provided treatment. Her samples were also sent to a laboratory in Islamabad but the reports have yet to be received,” he explained.

The district health officer, however, contradicted the hospital’s claim.

Health EDO Dr Nawazish Ali said the minor girl died of “extreme weakness”. “We have made elaborate arrangements to deal with polio patients,” he said. “A special ward has been established in Allied Hospital for treatment and intensive care of polio patients.”

The EDO said the results were still awaited from the National Health Laboratory in Islamabad. “The real reason will come to light only after the laboratory report,” he said. “If the lab reports prove the girl was a polio patient, we will devise a strategy for screening the area’s children.”

Balochistan’s first case

The violence-hit province confirmed its first polio case of 2016 on Tuesday with a 30-month-old boy becoming the latest victim of the crippling disease.

Balochistan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Coordinator Dr Saifur Rehman identified the child as Mohammad Ikram, resident of Samungli area on the outskirts of Quetta.

Balochistan has been conducting polio immunisation campaigns every month to eradicate the virus. Environmental samples have tested positive for poliovirus in Killa Abdullah.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2016.

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