ISLAMABAD: Polio virus has been found in Loralai district taking the number of districts hit by the virus to 45 in the current year as compared to last year when the number of infected districts was 28.

Moreover, the total number of positive environmental samples, for the current year, has reached 176 as compared to 126 samples last year.

According to an official of the polio programme, Regi­onal Reference Lab­oratory for Polio Era­dication at the National Institute of Hea­lth has confirmed the detection of Type-1 Wild Polio­virus (WPV1) in Loralai and two already infected areas of Rawal­pindi and Islamabad.

“In Loralai, the environmental sample was collected from Rasala Line and it is first positive sample from district this year. The previous positive sample from this district was collected on Feb 17 2021,” he said.

The official said that in Islamabad sample was collected from Sabzi Mandi environmental site and it was the second positive sample from Islamabad district this year.

“In Rawalpindi, the sample was collected from Safdarabad environmental site and it was the second positive sample from Rawalpindi district this year,” he said.

He said that if polio virus was found in the sewage water, the sample was considered to be a positive environmental sample. He said this year over all five polio cases have been reported.

According to a statement, an intense vaccination schedule is being implemented this year to curb the spread of polio. So far this year, five vaccination campaigns have been conducted. This included two nationwide drives and a campaign ahead of the high-travel Eid season that concluded last week and reached 17.25 million children under the age of five.

Polio is a devastating incurable disease that can leave a child paralysed for life. All parents and caregivers have been requested to ensure their children are vaccinated against it at every opportunity and have completed all routine vaccinations to protect them from 12 vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2024

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