With the source of a previous polio case still under contention, an 18-month-old infant was found infected with the poliovirus in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the presence of poliovirus type P-1 in the stool samples collected from the infant, who came from Gilgit-Baltistan. His father is a resident of Diamer district. The child had not received any immunisation drops against polio, according to official sources.
The child, Nadeemullah, is under treatment in Holy Family Hospital.
Rawalpindi Health Executive District Officer Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal said that the kid belongs to G-B and has “nothing to do with Rawalpindi”. Gondal said, “The child fell ill in G-B and was then brought here.”
Health officials in G-B, however, insisted that the infant had been infected in Rawalpindi. The Rawalpindi health department had earlier refused to accept responsibility for another child that had tested positive for polio. They had insisted that the child was infected in Bajaur Agency, where he had moved to recently. The origin of the virus is yet to be determined.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali, who is heading the polio cell, had convened an emergency meeting of World Health Organisation, NIH and Punjab Health Department last week after media reports that the recent polio case from Rawalpindi had become a bone of contention between FATA and Punjab health departments, according to an official working in the polio cell.
Ali had ordered an inquiry into the matter and Rawalpindi and Bajaur health managers had held several meetings to resolve the issue. “An independent committee will be formed to ascertain the correct location of the polio case,” said an official familiar with the matter.
The total number of polio cases in 2012 has reached 36, down from 108 cases of polio during the same period last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2012.