Another child from Balochistan contracts poliovirus

Published September 8, 2020
The new victim of the crippling disease is a 15-month-old child from Pishin district. — AFP/File
The new victim of the crippling disease is a 15-month-old child from Pishin district. — AFP/File

QUETTA: Another case of poliovirus has been detected in Balochistan as the number of polio cases continues to increase in the province due to suspension of vaccination campaign because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new victim of the crippling disease is a 15-month-old child from Pishin district.

According to the health department’s officials, samples of the child were collected on Aug 19 and 20.

They said the parents of the affected child had refused to get their child vaccinated when polio teams visited their home during anti-polio campaigns.

Vaccination campaigns in Balochistan have been suspended for five months, causing a sudden increase in polio cases in the province.

With this new case, the number of polio cases in Balochistan has risen to 18 this year.

Last year, 12 cases of polio were reported in the province.

The countrywide tally of the crippling disease’s cases for the current year has reached 69.

According to an official of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, the 15-month-old girl has been found infected with poliovirus.

“Child’s right lower limb has been paralysed and the socioeconomic status of the family has been declared poor,” he said.

According to official website, during the current year 22 cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 21 cases from Sindh, 18 from Balochistan and eight cases have been reported from Punjab.

Moreover, during the current year 69 cases have been reported as compared to 147 cases in 2019 and only 12 cases in 2018.

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, its 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.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020

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