Islamabad, May 25, 2024 – The third polio case of the year has been reported from Killa Abdullah district of Balochistan.

According to the Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio at the National Institute of Health, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was detected in stool samples collected from a child in Darozai union council of Killa Abdullah. The affected child developed symptoms of paralysis on April 20.

Genetic sequencing of the isolated virus showed that it is genetically linked to the imported YB3A genetic cluster of WPV1.

“It is incredibly tragic that another child has been affected by polio this year in Balochistan,” said Coordinator to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Malik Mukhtar Ahmed Bharath, adding that polio is a terrible illness that changes not just the child’s life but also of the whole family.

He said: “The government is bringing the polio vaccine to our citizens’ doorsteps in multiple polio vaccination rounds. I urge families to understand the risk this disease poses to children and make sure that they vaccinate all their children under the age of five when the polio worker shows up to their homes.”

Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, said that a detailed case investigation will be launched immediately to identify the origins of the virus, find populations that may have missed vaccination and take corrective measures to contain its spread.”

“We have already conducted four polio vaccination campaigns this year, including two nationwide campaigns to boost children’s immunity and we will be conducting another campaign in June,” he added.

This is the third polio case from Balochistan this year and the first reported from Killa Abdullah after three years.

Last year, six polio cases were reported in the country, four from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two from Karachi.

Post updated on May 27, 2024, to reflect the result of genetic sequencing.

Note for 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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