ISLAMABAD: Two more polio cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, taking the tally for the current year to 19.
Almost five months of the year have passed, but the number of polio cases found in KP has reached eight which is equal to the cases reported in the province in 2016.
Only two cases last year and one in 2017 were reported from KP.
The recent cases have been reported from Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu.
An official of Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), requesting anonymity, said that a nine-year-old girl, whose samples were collected on May 5, was infected with poliovirus in D.I. Khan.
He said another case of a 17-month- old girl was reported from Bannu. Her samples were collected on May 3.
“As the incubation period of virus is almost three weeks so it has been confirmed that both the children have been infected with polio,” he said.
When contacted, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta confirmed the latest two cases. When asked how a nine-year-old girl was infected with polio, he said: “Sometimes it happens.”
“I remember that a 26-year-old foreigner came to Kalam in 2008 and had severe fever. Later it was confirmed that he was infected with poliovirus. However, he was not paralysed as virus usually fails to cripple people aged more than five years,” he said.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the countries in the world from where polio cases are still being reported.
So for this year, a total of 19 polio cases — eight from KP, five from tribal districts of KP, three from Punjab and three from Sindh — have been reported.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019