Islamabad, December 28, 2023 – Fourteen environmental samples have tested positive for wild poliovirus.

The virus was isolated from three sewage samples collected between December 4 and 13 from Peshawar, two from Hyderabad, two from Karachi East, and one sample each from Karachi Central, Karachi Keamari, Karachi West, Sukkur, Quetta, Kohat and Islamabad, the Regional Reference Lab for Polio Eradication at NIH has notified.

All samples belonged to the imported virus cluster, bringing the number of positive environmental samples this year to 112, said Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan.

“This year we have seen multiple detections of this imported virus, which highlights how cross-border transmission of the virus remains a great threat to children everywhere,” he said, adding that parents should understand the risk of poliovirus infection and ensure that their children receive multiple doses of the oral polio vaccine.

Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio Eradication, said the Polio Programme is well prepared to respond to virus detection anywhere in the country and has held multiple vaccination campaigns this year to ensure that children are protected from this disease.

“We have multiple campaigns planned for the coming year and will strategize to find any children that might have missed vaccination and boost their immunity,” he added.

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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