Three more cases of polio reported in Pakistan

Updated February 28, 2020

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The cases were found in Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.  — AFP/File
The cases were found in Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Three cases of polio have been reported from Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) due to which the tally for the current year has reached 21.

An official of the National Institute of Health said that in Balochistan, a seven-month-old boy, resident of Ward 1-10B Union Council, Sibi tehsil and district, had been infected with the poliovirus.

“The child belongs to a poor family as his father is a labourer. The boy has not received any dose of polio vaccine as his parents are not in favour of vaccination,” he said.

“In KP, a 32-month-old girl, resident of Abbakhel UC, Lakki Marwat tehsil and district, has been infected with polio. In Punjab, an eight-month-old boy, resident of Hairo Sharqi UC, Taunsa tehsil, Dera Ghazi Khan district, has been infected with the virus of the crippling disease,” the official said.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus mainly affecting children under the age of five. The virus invades nervous system of the victim 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, his/her protection against the virus is increased.

Repeated immunisation has protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free. Pakistan remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the World Health Organisa­tion due to which, since 2014, every Pakistani travelling abroad has to carry a polio vaccination certificate.

Saleem Shahid from Quetta also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2020