Polio case detected in Charsadda as count rises to 23 this year

Published May 13, 2015
Last year, 306 polio cases were reported in Pakistan.— AP/File
Last year, 306 polio cases were reported in Pakistan.— AP/File

PESHAWAR: A new polio case was confirmed on Tuesday from the Shabqadar Tehsil of Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), where two-year-old Muhamad Rahem was dignosed with the virus, according to Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) officials in Charsadda.

With this case, the number of polio-affected patients detected in Pakistan this year has gone up to 23, of which 10 were reported from KP alone.

Sources said World Health Organisation (WHO) and EPI officials visited Rahem’s home and questioned his parents on the child’s condition. But EPI’s provincial coordinator for KP— Dr Taimur— did not confirm the fresh polio case.

He did however say that so far in 2015, nine polio cases (excluding Rahem) have been registered in the province: five from Peshawar, two from Tank and one each in Lucky Marwat and Nowshehra.

Pakistan’s fight against polio has in recent times been marred by militants who target vaccination teams, especially in the northern and tribal areas of the country, where terrorists have carved out hideouts for themselves.

Explore: Lost — The battle against polio.

In November last year, four health workers— including three women— were killed and three others injured in an attack on a vehicle of a polio vaccination team in Quetta. This resulted in other workers boycotting a provincial vaccination campaign in Balochistan.

In late 2012, six polio workers were shot dead in Karachi during a nationwide polio vaccination drive, in one of the deadliest attack on health officials in the country.

As one of the three countries in the world where polio remains a threat to date, the WHO last year made it mandatory for all Pakistanis travelling abroad to have at least one dose of the anti-polio vaccine.

Last year was one of the country’s worst in terms of the number of polio cases, with the count reaching 306, marking the first time in almost 14 years that the number exceeded 200.

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