First-ever polio case in Punjab reported

Published: August 8, 2014
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DCO Lahore Captain (R) Usman administrating polio drops to a child in Lahore. PHOTO: NNI

DCO Lahore Captain (R) Usman administrating polio drops to a child in Lahore. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD: 

Punjab has reported its first-ever polio case in the year 2014 which has set alarm bells ringing for the government as the crippling disease has now infiltrated low-risk zones of the country as well.

The polio virology laboratory at National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, on Thursday confirmed four fresh wild type-1 polio cases in the country each from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, taking the nationwide tally to 108 children.

The year’s first case of polio in Punjab was diagnosed in a 35-month-old baby girl named Noorul Huda, daughter of Waqar Haider, who is a resident of Union Council and Tehsil Kalar Kahar, district Chakwal.

According to her parents, she had received over seven doses of polio vaccine. Last year a total of seven polio cases were reported from Punjab.

Meanwhile, a 17-month-old child named Gul Panra, daughter of Mohammad Ali, resident of village and area Khushali, tehsil North Waziristan has also been diagnosed with the crippling disease.

So far this year, a total of 77 cases from Fata have been reported out of which 58 are from North Waziristan Agency, seven from South Waziristan, 10 from Khyber Agency and two from Frontier Region (FR) Bannu.

Umema, a 10-month-old girl, who is a resident of Peshawar, was also infected with poliovirus. She had also received seven doses of polio. K-P so far has reported 19 cases out of which eight have been reported from Peshawar, nine from Bannu, and one each from Mardan and Laki Marwat.

Mohammad Siddiq’s five-and-a-half years old son Mohammad Umair, from Karachi, had only one dose of polio vaccine due to parental refusal.

Sindh has reported 10 cases out of which all have been reported from Karachi, including one each from Baldia, Orangi, Site, Landhi, Sanghar, North Karachi and four from Gadap.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) national manager, said that having cases from relatively low-risk zones like Punjab is worrisome and is also a wake-up call for the government.

This year in just eight months, polio cases have been reported from all the four provinces, which is alarming. “Now the government should include the relatively low-risk areas in its priority list along with high-risk zones as there is no idea where a child gets infected with the disease,” he said.

“All children with an immunity gap can acquire poliovirus even if they are living in a low-risk zone. Meanwhile, the movement of children of IDPs to other parts of the country who missed polio doses can pose a big threat,” he said.

He was of the view that the child affected with polio in Chakwal does not belong to a Pakhtun family or was among internally displaced persons (IDPs) but was a local.

Despite the fact the child had received seven doses of polio vaccine, she was diagnosed with the disease and the reason could be that the child is malnourished and thus, has a weak immune system, he said.

Dr Safdar expressed concern over the poor quality of anti-polio drives in Balochistan, adding that the evaluation report showed quality gaps in it.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • ajeet
    Aug 8, 2014 - 3:15AM

    India should ban Pakistanis from entering India.

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  • Kamran ahmed
    Aug 8, 2014 - 8:21AM

    CM Shahbaz does not care. He is busy making another false promise about load shedding and pleading innocence. His response to this would probably be ” no one asked me permission to get polio virus”and then he will blame Rana Sanaullah. What a loser.

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  • Sandip
    Aug 8, 2014 - 9:25AM

    @ajeet: Agree. It’s too much of a risk to take. If a child who has supposedly got 7 doses of polio vaccine can still end up contracting the disease, this is one chance India just cannot take. In the meantime, we must help out in any way we can – at the very least by making large number of vaccines available to the Pakistani government free of cost if need be.

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  • imran
    Aug 8, 2014 - 9:36AM

    Let us make pakistan into north and south Pakistan country. Everyone will be happy. I will be very happy. I am a pathan.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Aug 8, 2014 - 9:51AM

    Another feather in the cap of PMLN.

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  • sharabi
    Aug 8, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Indian Government has established disease control centers at all International Airport for every African as fear of Ebola virus arise but my question is why not for Pakistanis? GOI must vaccinate everyone which is returning from Pakistan.
    sorry pak friends , its just for prevention and our safety.

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  • Hmm
    Aug 8, 2014 - 10:45AM

    @ajeet:

    We should introduce taxes named polio-tax or Aids-tax and those tax will be collected at airport for people suffering from these disease .

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  • Ali Rajput
    Aug 8, 2014 - 12:22PM

    @Kamran ahmed:
    Son did you even read the full story or just the headline? This is the First case of polio in Punjab in 2014. Punjab has 1 out 108 Polio cases in 2014.

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  • AJamal
    Aug 8, 2014 - 12:51PM

    @Ali Rajput:
    This is to be ashamed of, even if it is 1 of 108.

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  • Hari Om
    Aug 8, 2014 - 1:58PM

    Continuing prevalence of Polio in Pakistan and its spread into areas of Pakistan such as Punjab from where it had been previously eliminated is the inevitable outcome of Pakistan’s obsession for boxing above her weight class and nurturing an outsize military in order to seek parity with India leaving limited resources for carrying out Polio vaccination which is near 100% effective in immunising against the Polio virus.

    Seeking parity with India by gorging on shiny new eye candy weapon systems, maintaining the Generals, Marshalls and Admirals of the Military in the princely Mughal style they are used to and strutting the world stage as the “Sole Islamic Nuclear Power”, will as former Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto put it require Pakistan “Eating Grass”.

    The solution is thus rather straight forward. Pakistan needs to accept that she is India’s inferior.

    The big question that then remains is will Pakistan make the rational choice and junk the braggadocio of attempting to seek equality with India? Or will it accept the inevitable consequence of stunted development entailing Pakistan’s civilians figuratively “Eating Grass” and wallowing in disease that can be eradicated with a simple vaccine?

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Aug 8, 2014 - 2:25PM

    This is courtesy KPK Government whose rank incompetence led to this fiasco. Punjab should control the entry of people coming into Punjab.

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  • Bharat R.
    Aug 8, 2014 - 2:47PM

    The failure of Pakistan to prevent spread of polio into Punjab owing to the Pakistan Military’s gorging of scarce national resources for military prestige building, weapon system acquisition, building a large nuclear weapon stockpile and supporting lavish life styles for the Punjabi dominated military top brass, has the potential of adversely effecting India through spread of the disease across the border into India. So in order to prevent the polio virus joining the list of other unwelcome exports from Pakistan into India; namely terrorists, firearms, ammunition, explosives, illegal narcotics and counterfeit Indian currency notes, it would be prudent for India to just stop providing visa’s to Pakistanis to visit India and simultaneously prohibit Indian’s from visiting Pakistan.

    India should not permit herself to be swayed by sympathy inducing Pakistani arguments about the need for maintaining people to people contact, helping divided families and using visit visas as confidence building measure to foster peace. India must instead be free to enjoy the fruits of eschewing the temptation of acquiring lots of nuclear “bums” and weapon systems in order to make resources available for polio eradication unlike Pakistan.

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  • Lolz
    Aug 8, 2014 - 3:06PM

    @Sandip: Yeah… a new human specie is being prepared in Pakistan that will take over the whole world soon… the older species would be replaced and all of them are requested to kindly lock themselves up in their territorial boundaries….. Normal weaponry and vaccinations might not serve the purpose, evolution or replacement is the only solution… ;-)

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  • Asif
    Aug 13, 2014 - 9:51AM

    First ever case in 2014 is a wrong statement. Makes the reader think that there has never been a polio case in Punjab before.

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