Health minister says the support of parents, families and communities is essential to help eliminate this devastating disease from our country.

Islamabad, December 11, 2023 – Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been found in six environmental samples collected from five districts of the country.

The Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio Eradication at the National Institute of Health has notified that the virus was isolated from two sewage samples from Quetta and one each from Karachi Malir, Peshawar, Hub and Tank districts, collected between November 13 and 20.

The virus isolated from all these samples belonged to the imported virus cluster.

“In 84 out of the 90 positive sewage samples this year, we have detected the imported cluster, which highlights the constant risk of poliovirus spread through cross-border transmission,” said Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan, adding that “As long as the virus remains in circulation, no child anywhere is safe from it.”

He further said: “The government is working hard to eradicate this menace, but we cannot succeed without the support of parents and community. We have held multiple vaccination campaigns this year to boost children’s immunity and we will continue these drives into the next year. I urge parents, teachers, ulema and community elders to ensure that the children around you are vaccinated whenever a vaccinator comes to your door.”

Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication said the Pakistan Polio Programme has the largest and most sensitive polio surveillance system in the world, which has been crucial in the early detections of the virus in the environment and in children. “We have detected six polio cases and 90 positive environmental samples so far this year,” he said. “With every detection, we have conducted multiple rounds of vaccination to boost children’s immunity in affected areas, including three nationwide campaigns.”


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, except for the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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