ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported its 15th wild poliovirus case of this year after a 17-month-old boy from the North Waziristan tribal district contracted the disease, the National Institute of Health (NIH) said on Saturday.

According to an NIH official, all victims this year are aged under two years, and the only case outside North Waziristan was reported from Lakki Marwat last month.

According to an NIH statement, the country’s polio eradication programme has continued immunisation campaigns wherever possible despite adverse weather. The ongoing national anti-polio vaccination drive started on Aug 22 and health workers continue to reach children in all accessible areas, braving heavy rains and floods.

17-month-old boy from North Waziristan contracts virus

Pakistan reported this year’s first case in April after staying polio-free for almost 15 months. It 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. Since there is no cure for the disease, vaccination is the most effective protection against it.

While repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries to become polio-free, Pakistan and Afghanistan remained the only polio-endemic countries.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2022

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