Teenage girl among two affected by polio in Punjab

Updated February 21, 2020

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The cases have been categorised in 2019 as the samples were collected last year.  — AFP/File
The cases have been categorised in 2019 as the samples were collected last year. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Two polio cases, including that of a teenage girl, have been reported from Punjab due to which the tally for the year 2019 has reached 146.

“We receive a number of samples of paralysed children but every child is not paralysed due to poliovirus. Although samples of the two children were collected on Dec 8 and 28 last year, the traces of virus were in minute quantity due to which we had to grow them. Finally it has been confirmed that both children were infected with the virus of the crippling disease,” National Manager Emergency Operation Centre on Polio Dr Rana Safdar said while talking to Dawn.

“We are in the year 2020 but as the samples were collected last year the cases have been placed on the list of 2019,” he said.

According to details a 54-month-old girl, resident of Lahore district, Ravi Town tehsil, Union Council (UC) 13, has been paralysed due to poliovirus. The child was vaccinated, but she was acutely malnourished due to which her immunity level was very low.

Other child is also a 14-year-old female, resident of Okara district and tehsil, UC 18.

Dr Safdar said that in cases, in which a teenager is infected with virus, paralysis is minute and mostly they live normal life.

As many as 146 cases of polio were reported last year as compared to 12 in 2018 and only eight in 2017. Moreover, during the current year 17 cases have been confirmed.

Last year, 92 cases were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 30 from Sindh and 12 each from Punjab and Balochistan.

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 the crippling disease.

Each time a child is vaccinated, his/her protection against the virus is increased.

Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become free of polio.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020