ISLAMABAD, 14 JUNE 2022 – Two children in North Waziristan were confirmed to be paralyzed by wild polio.

First one: A one-year-old boy belongs to Dosali and had onset of paralysis on 8 May, the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad confirmed late on Monday.

Second one: Wild polio was also confirmed in a 11-month-old boy from Mir Ali with onset of paralysis on 27 May. The boy was paralysed in all four limbs and the neck muscles and later died.

All cases so far in 2022 have been reported from North Waziristan, where more cases are expected due to continued wild poliovirus transmission caused by high vaccine resistance and poor health standards.

“There is a vaccination campaign ongoing in southern Khyber-Pakhtunkha, which is the third vaccination activity by the polio programme since the outbreak in North Waziristan,” said Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. “We are doing our utmost to reach all children and will not rest until we finish polio from this country,” he added.

Federal Health Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam Irfan said it was crucial for parents and caregivers to ensure all children receive the polio vaccine, particularly during the ongoing vaccination activities in the district.

The southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), namely North and South Waziristan, DI Khan, Bannu, Tank and Lakki Marwat, are at highest risk of wild poliovirus transmission. Children up to the age of 10 are being vaccinated at all entry and exit points of southern KP, while the programme is aggressively hunting down the virus with contact tracing and heightened virus surveillance activities in these areas.

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 crippling 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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