ISLAMABAD: After having remained polio free for 15 months, the country on Wednesday reported the fourth polio case in one month.

The victim is a 13-month-old boy who has been paralysed by wild poliovirus in the in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The case was confirmed by the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health. This is the third polio case from Mir Ali this year.

“Another child in North Waziristan has been paralysed by wild poliovirus. This 13-month-old child will live with disabilities for the rest of his life because of a virus that is entirely preventable. This is a collective loss for Pakistan,” said Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. “Over 99 per cent of the world is now polio-free. Our children also deserve a life free from this incurable disease,” he added.

“All parents must realise the risk that wild polio continues to pose to children all over Pakistan. Please ensure that your children are vaccinated in the ongoing nationwide campaign being conducted in all 156 districts of the country,” he said.

According to preliminary investigations, the child had not received any dose of oral polio vaccine.

According to a statement, all children confirmed with wild polio this year belong to North Waziristan, where more cases are expected due to high refusal rates and instances of finger-marking without vaccination during the campaigns.

The nationwide immunisation campaign started on May 23 and will continue across the country till May 27.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022

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