Health minister said Pakistan maintains one the world’s most sensitive polio surveillance system which has been crucial in detecting the virus.
Islamabad, October 4, 2023 – Wild poliovirus (WPV1) has been found in sewage samples of Peshawar district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health notified on Wednesday that a sewage sample collected from Shaheen Muslim Town in Peshawar on September 20 tested positive for WPV1, which is genetically linked to the virus cluster circulating in Afghanistan.
Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan said Pakistan is maintaining one of the world’s most sensitive polio surveillance system which has been crucial in detecting the virus and planning response campaigns.
“Pakistan is working hard to eradicate this virus and join the ranks of polio-free countries,” he said. “We are working in close collaboration with Afghanistan to strengthen vaccination at all border crossings and ensure vaccination of all mobile populations.”
Dr Jan urged parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated in the ongoing and in each vaccination campaign to ensure that they are protected from this disability-causing virus.
This is the 13th positive environmental sample from Peshawar this year and the 34th positive sample from the country. The last detection was from Bannu in an environmental sample collected on September 21.
A national polio campaign is underway in the country from October 2 to vaccinate over 44 million children under five against polio.
Pakistan has reported three polio cases this year and 34 positive environmental samples.
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.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Amina Sarwar
Communications Officer, NEOC