ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported its 14th wild poliovirus case this year, with the latest victim being an eight-month-old girl from Miramshah tehsil of North Waziristan district, a National Institute of Health (NIH) official said on Wednesday.

“This is the third wild poliovirus case from Mira­mshah and the 13th from North Waziristan this year,” the official told Dawn.

All 14 victims are aged under two years, whereas the only case outside North Waziristan was reported from Lakki Marwat last week.

The health ministry said in a statement polio campaigns had proven to be successful all over the world, with over 99pc of the world now polio-free. The only two remaining polio-endemic countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan — have reported 15 cases this year, with 14 cases detected from Pakistan between April and June and one case from Afghanistan in January.

Ministry examines preparations to deal with monkeypox

“The national emergency operations centres of Afghanistan and Pakistan are continuing cross-border coordination efforts,” it said. “The countries have synchronised two polio campaigns in May and June and are ensuring vaccination of children under 10 on all major transit points, along with vaccinating all ages at the international borders.”

After staying polio-free for almost 15 months, Paki­stan reported a polio case in April. The country detected only one case last year.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus and mainly affects children aged under five years. It enters the nervous system and causes paralysis and even death. While there is no cure, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease.

Session on monkeypox

As the monkeypox outbreak has been declared a “public health emergency of international concern” by the WHO, a special session was held under the direction of federal Minis­ter of National Health Services Abdul Qadir Patel to review the country’s preparedness in this regard.

The federal special secretary, director general of the health ministry and representatives from the interior ministry, CAA, Central Health Establis­hm­ent and FIA also attended.

According to a statement, the participants were informed that the situation was currently “well controlled” and was being closely monitored at nati­onal, regional and global levels epidemiologically.

“All the national and provincial health authorities and other stakeholders, especially Central Health Establishment (monitoring points of entry), are advised to remain vigilant and on high alert for any suspected case,” the statement said and urged all public and private hospitals “to ensure readiness for isolation and treatment of monkeypox”.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2022

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