Second death in two weeks: Polio claims 14-year-old boy’s life

Published August 16, 2020
This was the third death from polio in Punjab, which was also confirmed by the provincial government in a statement. — AP/File
This was the third death from polio in Punjab, which was also confirmed by the provincial government in a statement. — AP/File

LAHORE: A second polio-related death was reported in the city within two weeks after a 14-year-old boy died of the crippling disease at Mayo Hospital.

Talha of Ravi Town had died on July 27, two days after he was declared a suspected case of polio. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Punjab health authorities confirmed it on Saturday while officially notifying the death.

Earlier, 26-month-old Muhammad Ali had died of the disease at Children Hospital on July 14, an official privy to the information told Dawn.

This was the third death from polio in Punjab, which was also confirmed by the provincial government in a statement issued late on Saturday.

One of his immediate contacts also found infected with virus

The official said that all four limbs of Ali were paralysed and he had suffered a stroke which led to his death.

He was also a resident of Ravi Town, a health department spokesman, told Dawn.

He said Talha’s death was officially confirmed after health teams traced two minor girls, who were his immediate contacts, and found one of them infected with the same virus.

Referring to the NIH report, the spokesperson said that when Talha was shifted to the Government Said Mitha Hospital here on July 25, doctors declared him a suspected patient of poliovirus.

“The child was fine till he developed fever along with vomiting followed by gradual weakness of both the lower limbs,” the report reads.

It stated that the boy was later notified as suffering from Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) with provisional diagnosis of Guillain Barre Syndrome, the most common cause of AFP in healthy infants and children.

He was shifted to Mayo Hospital where his condition became critical due to difficulty in breathing and the weakness in upper limbs progressed, the report further stated. Talha was then shifted to the Covid-19 intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator where he died on July 27.

Meanwhile, health teams managed to trace the immediate contacts of Talha -- Noor Fatima and her younger sister from Ravi Town. The NIH report stated that Noor Fatima was fully immunised and had received the last dose of polio vaccine on March 18; the girls did not have a significant travel history. It, however, confirmed that she carried the poliovirus in her body, while the test reports of her sister were awaited.

Earlier on July 9, a six-month-old boy had succumbed to the disease in Taunsa Sharif.

Polio campaigns had remained suspended for three months due to Covid-19. However, the Punjab polio programme in-charge, Sundas Irshad, said in a statement on Saturday: “As a response, polio campaigns have been restarted to save more children from the virus. Monthly campaigns will ensure that the virus is eliminated this year.”

She urged parents to get their children vaccinated.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2020

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