The first polio virus case of the year surfaced in Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Regional Reference Laboratory (RRL) for polio eradication in Islamabad reported on Saturday.
The latest victim, a one-year-old boy, was reportedly administered the anti-polio vaccine once, but the test results from the sample obtained from the child showed he was positive for Wild Polio Virus 1.
The virus has already started showing symptoms, with both the child’s legs showing signs of paralysis, which are more pronounced in the right leg.
According to the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, the total number of cases in Pakistan last year stood at 136, with KP leading the tally with 92 cases, followed by Sindh at 25, Balochistan at 11 and Punjab at 8.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five. 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. There are only two countries in the world — Pakistan and Afghanistan — where polio cases are being reported.
Pakistan remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the World Health Organisation due to which, since 2014, every person travelling abroad has to carry a polio vaccination certificate.