Polio Update – Islamabad – March 27, 2024

Three environmental samples test positive for WPV1

Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been found in three sewage samples, taking the number of total infected districts to 29 and positive environmental samples to 74 this year.

The Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio Eradication at NIH has notified the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio Eradication that WPV1 was found in a wastewater sample collected from Sukkur on March 4, from Chaman on March 5 and from Karachi Central on Marach 6.

The virus isolated from the samples is genetically linked to the YB3A poliovirus genetic cluster, which disappeared from Pakistan in 2021, remained in circulation in Afghanistan and was reintroduced through cross-border transmission in January 2023. This virus has been found in all positive samples and two polio cases reported this year.

Polio has no cure and can leave a child paralyzed for life, said Federal Secretary for Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani in a statement, while urging parents and caregivers to ensure their children under the age of five receive the oral polio vaccine at every opportunity.

The Pakistan Polio Programme has already conducted two nationwide polio campaigns, vaccinating more than 43 million children under five in both drives, while an outbreak response campaign is ongoing in 26 districts, including Chaman and Sukkur, to boost children’s immunity. Another campaign is planned in April and in coming months to keep children’s immunity against polio high.


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.

For further information, please contact:
Ms Hania Naeem, Communications Officer, NEOC,
Contact No:+923431101988
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