Poliovirus detected in sewage of eight major cities

Polio drive to begin January 21

Razya Khan January 14, 2019
Pakistani health workers arrive at a railway station to administer polio vaccine drops to children during a polio vaccination campaign in Karachi in September 2018. PHOTO:AFP

ISLAMABAD: Traces of the poliovirus have been found in the sewage water of major cities including Karachi, Peshawar, Bannu, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Qilla Abdullah, Pishin and Quetta.

A polio drive is scheduled to begin from January 21 and parents are being urged by authorities to immunise their children, especially those under five years of age, with polio drops.

Two new cases of polio surfaced last week in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, bringing the total number of 2018’s polio cases in Pakistan to ten.

A 16-month-old girl belonging to Marmundu Azam area of Lakki Marwat district and a two-and-a-half-year-old boy belonging to Bajaur Agency were tested positive for the virus.

Two fresh cases of poliovirus surface in K-P

The cases were added to last year’s tally as the samples were collected from the children in December 2018. The samples were sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad for verification.

In its report sent to the K-P Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the NIH confirmed that the children had contracted polio.

According to health officials, the girl was given polio drops more than seven times but missed vaccination at birth.

Another child, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy was not administered polio drops due to refusal from his parents. The child’s father had administered the drops to both his daughters but turned down the vaccination for his son. Consequently, the child missed the vaccination during the course of his routine immunization.

With the latest cases, the K-P Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) puts the total number of polio cases in the province at six.

As per the figures forwarded by the health department, one case has been reported from district Charsadda, one from Lakki Marwat, three from Bajaur and one from district Khyber.




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