ISLAMABAD: A 24-month-old child from UC Gujro in Karachi East has become the fourth victim of poliovirus this year, an official from the Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health confirmed.

According to a statement, Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan has said it was incredibly unfortunate that another child was paralysed by a disease that was vaccine preventable. “All children have a right to live a life free from the threat of poliovirus. I am devastated that this child will now suffer from a preventable disease,” he said.

“Parents must understand the huge risk polio poses to their children’s wellbeing and ensure that they receive multiple doses of the oral polio vaccine and are up to date on their routine immunisations,” Secretary Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said.

On Thursday, environmental samples obtained from four cities were tested positive for poliovirus, occurring one week after similar samples from Hub, Lahore, and Peshawar yielded positive results.

The NIH has officially verified the presence of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1) in sewage samples gathered from Karachi, Peshawar, Rawal­pindi, and Chaman.

Mr Jan expressed concern over the 43 positive environmental samples found until now and announced a campaign to vaccinate children in areas where the virus presence has been deceted. It will be initiated in November.

Published in Dawn, October 22th, 2023

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