Polio cases reported from Khyber, Karachi

They bring total cases detected this year to six


Umer Farooq October 18, 2018
They bring total cases detected this year to six. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Two polio virus cases have been detected  in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) district Khyber and Karachi, bringing the total number of children affected by the crippling disease in 2018 to six. In both the latest cases the virus is found in female kids.

According to details, stool samples were collected from both the kids after their parents reported weakness in their limbs. Officials from the National Institute of Health (NIH) said the stool samples were tested at the NIH which confirmed both the kids carried poliovirus.

“One kid belongs to district Khyber [which was part of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas] and the other one is from Karachi,” an official said.

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Sources said the laboratory has isolated wild polio virus from a 55-month-old Saira of Tora village in Tehsil Landikotal of district Khyber. This was the first poliovirus reported from tribal districts after 26 months since the last case emerged on July 27, 2016 from district South Waziristan.

The second case of polio virus is confirmed in a 42-month-old girl from the Gadap area of Karachi.

“The child [in Khyber] received doses during all anti-polio vaccination campaigns and despite having some security issues, the area had been thoroughly covered,” read a statement issued by the secretariat for the erstwhile Fata.

The officials said teams have been deployed to the area to immediately collect details and do a field investigation to find out flaws, if any. They said blood samples of the child [from Khyber] have been obtained to check immunity of the child.

All children in this area along with the adjacent Mastak and Tirah bazar would be vaccinated with oral polio vaccination along with the ongoing measles vaccination. Further course of action would be chalked out in consultation with national emergency operation centre today [Thursday].

The National Emergency  Operations  Centre  (EOC)  for  Polio  Eradication  also notified the  new  polio  cases  from Gadap area of Karachi  and  Khyber district, adding that the virus failed to cause any clinical paralysis to both the children.

The lab detected polio virus from stool samples on October 1 and September 30 respectively. Fortunately, both the girls received multiple doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted their immunity and protected them from a life-long paralysis.

“The polio  virus  has  been  continuously  found  in  the sewage  waters  of  Peshawar and  Karachi in  the  last  12 months,” said the PM’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Babar Bin  Atta. “The programme will continue to focus on clearing these two remaining reservoirs from the virus with full force,” he said.

Earlier  this  year, three polio  cases  were  reported  from  Dukki District in  Balochistan  province,  while  one  case  was reported  from  the  K-P’s Charsadda  district. Being fully vaccinated in routine campaigns, the Charsadda child had also escaped paralysis.

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