ISLAMABAD, 27 MAY 2022 – Two more wild polio cases have been confirmed from North Waziristan, leaving young boy and a girl paralysed. Both children are 18-months old and belong to Mir Ali.

The female child had onset of paralysis on 10 May and the male child on 11 May. 

Both cases were confirmed by the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad on Thursday, 26 May. This is the sixth case in North Waziristan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, this year.

“These children will struggle for the rest of their lives because of the pain of disabilities caused by polio. I urge the people of Pakistan to vaccinate your children,” said Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel.

The southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that include North and South Waziristan, DI Khan, Bannu, Tank and Lakki Marwat, are at highest risk of wild poliovirus. While no human transmission has been reported outside North Waziristan, two positive environmental samples between April and May were reported from Bannu.

“All children suffering from wild polio are being offered rehabilitation services but regardless of the support the government provides, there is cure to polio. The only way to protect children is to give them repeated doses of the polio vaccine,” said Federal Health Secretary Aamir Ashraf Khawaja.

All children confirmed with wild polio this year belong to North Waziristan, where more cases are expected due to high refusal rates and instances of finger-marking without vaccination during campaigns.

“The Pakistan Polio Programme has conducted emergency campaigns in the area, while children are administered the vaccine at all entry and exit points from southern KP to control the spread of the virus,” said Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator, National Emergency Operations Centre. “The programme is working relentlessly to control the spread of wild polio, but we need the support of parents and caregivers to succeed in our mission of a polio-free Pakistan.”

The only two endemic countries in the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan, synchronized immunization campaigns from May 23 – May 27, vaccinating millions of children on both sides of the border.

Note for the Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, besides the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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