Health Minister urges parents to get their children vaccinated in every campaign to ensure that they are protected.

Islamabad, October 18, 2023 – Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been found in five sewage samples taken from four districts.

The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health on Wednesday notified that the virus has been isolated from two samples collected from Karachi on September 26 and one sample each collected from Rawalpindi and Chaman on October 2 and Peshawar on October 4.

Genetic sequencing showed that all isolated viruses belong to the YB3A poliovirus cluster which is circulating in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has now reported 43 positive environmental samples this year, which is quite concerning,” said Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan. “We have one of the best poliovirus surveillance networks in the world and these detections underscore that our surveillance remains highly efficient, picking up the virus promptly.”

The minister added that the presence of the virus in the environment means children are at enhanced risk from a disease that causes lifelong paralysis, and it is imperative for vaccination rates to remain high.

“We have conducted multiple polio vaccination rounds this year, including two nationwide drives,” he said. “Our dedicated vaccinators will be going door-to-door again in November for another national campaign. I urge parents to make sure that their children are vaccinated whenever a polio team shows up at their door to make sure that they are protected.”

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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