Islamabad, June 25, 2024 – Pakistan has reported the sixth polio case of 2024 from Killa Abdullah district of Balochistan.

The Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio at the National Institute of Health has notified that wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was detected in stool samples collected from a 1.5-year-old child in Union Council Gulistan 2 of Killa Abdullah.

The affected child developed symptoms of paralysis in his leg on June 3. Genetic sequencing of virus isolated from the samples showed that it is genetically linked to the YB3A genetic cluster of WPV1, which has been found in all positive cases and environmental samples this year.

“This is the fifth case from Balochistan this year,” said Coordinator to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Malik Mukhtar Ahmed Bharath. “The government is working on strengthening routine vaccination rates and health systems in the province, but we cannot defeat this disease alone, the support of parents and communities is critical.”

Dr Bharath said that poliovirus has been found in over 40 districts this year, urging parents and caregivers across the country to remain vigilant and ensure that all children under the age of five receive multiple doses of the oral polio vaccine.

This is the second polio case reported from Killa Abdullah so far, while five of the six cases reported this year are from Balochistan. 

Muhammad Anwarul Haq, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, said that the poliovirus moves with people and repeated vaccination is the most effective way to keep children protected from this disease.

“The Polio Programme has conducted five vaccination campaigns this year, however, we have faced challenges in implementing full campaigns in many parts of Balochistan due to insecurity and localized protests, which has led to immunity gaps,” he said, adding that the Programme is working with the Health Ministry and law-enforcement agencies to ensure uninterrupted polio drives.

The Polio Programme has launched a comprehensive case investigation to identify the routes of virus transmission and to locate and vaccinate children who might have missed polio vaccination.

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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